Pulaski Couty has posted here the outcome of early voting and some 15,000 absentee ballots.
Some interesting news in the results. But first: A video of the Election Commission isn’t currently working, so I don’t have news yet of outcome of a reported challenge of the establishment of a drive-through procedure by the county clerk for taking absentee ballots. This was conducted on courthouse grounds, within yards of where ballots were accepted inside the building. As yet, no complaint has been taken to the commission it’s only been rumored in media reports. Shortly before 9 p.m., no complaint had emerged as the commission continued to review absentee ballots that had been set aside in the initial canvassing process.
I’m unclear of the ground for such a challenge, but it could be a Republican attempting to hold down Democratic votes in Democratic leaning Pulaski County.
Commission director Bryan Poe said the checking of absentees had taken longer than expected. About 20,000 of 25,000 submitted to the clerk were approved for counting after verification of voter information by the clerk. Of those, about 15,000 have been counted, with another 2,000 to 3,000 still being reviewed around 9 p.m. Some 4,300 ballots were not counted because of discrepancies in identification and the commission is reviewing those, though some may eventually be counted.
There’s no way to know how many absentees came by mail or were personally delivered to the courthouse or delivered at the drive-through station. It’s a little late for a challenge, based on court rulings elsewhere and it strains credulity to think someone would try to invalidate almost 20,000 ballots because some were dropped off at the curb rather than inside the courthouse a few yards away.
How Democratic is Pulaski County?
Joe Biden led the presidential early/absentee voting 62-35
Libertarian Ricky Dale Harrington outpolled incumbent Republican Sen. Tom Cotton 59-41
The big race, for 2nd district, with total vote, early vote and absentee vote in Pulaski County:
A loss of several thousand absentee votes could be critical in a tight race.
UPDATE: With 43 percent of the precincts counted, AP has French Hill ahead of Elliott by about 3,500 votes, a 50.78-49.22 percentage lead.
Early voting in Pulaski County shows Democratic challengers — Ashley Hudson and Matthew Stallings — with leads over incumbent Republican state legislators in two races.
Tracy Steele has a 46-30 lead over Terry Hartwick in the race for North Little Rock mayor, not enough to avoid a runoff.
Dean Kumpuris and Joan Adcock have comfortable leads in races for re-election to the Little Rock City Board. Antwan Phillips is leading the third race for an open at-large seat, with 39 percent of the vote to 21 percent for Leron McAdoo and 20 percent for Alan Bubbus. There are no runoffs for these races.
The first Little Rock School Board races in six years shape up this way and a runoff is required if a candidate doesn’t get a majority of the votes:
Zone 3: Tommy Branch leads Evelyn Hemphill 30-27.
Zone 4: Ali Noland leads Stuart Mackey 57-43
Zone 6: Fransha Anderson leads Vicki Hatter 39-30
Zone 7: Norma Johnson leads Ryan Davis 53-47
Zone 8: Greg Adams leads Benjamin Coleman 69-31.
Zone 9: Jeff Woods leads Kien Vang-Dings 57-43
An extension of the Little Rock School District millage is losing 54-46
On statewide ballot issues, the early Pulaski County votes are against all three proposals, a new sales tax for highways, end of term limits and killing popular ballot petitions.
The 126,000 votes in the county represent almost three-fourths of the total vote in the county in 2016. They are likely closely representative of outcomes, though election day voting in select areas could alter outcomes.
Arkansas has already been called for Trump, as you’d expect. But in the early voting, he’s gotten only 57 percent of the vote, against 65 percent in 2016. And in early voting statewide, Ricky Harrington has piled up 37 percent of the votes to Cotton’s 62 percent, better than Mark Pryor garnered in losing to Cotton in 2014.
With 17 percent of the vote counted, statewide voters are favoring Issues 1 and 2 — sales tax and no term limits — with 53 percent of the vote. Issue 3, the petition killer, is trailing 58-42.