Sen. Joyce Elliott, the Democrat defeated in her challenge to 2nd District Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill, announced on Facebook this afternoon that she’d be calling Hill afterward to concede.
But she used seven minutes on the Facebook announcement to decry the breakdown of trust in politics. She spoke of manipulation of photos by Hill supporters to make her look dangerous and about the misrepresentation of her votes on 911, cancer research and highway construction measures by Hill and others,
She also blasted the Republican-controlled Pulaski County Election Commission for a failure to canvass all absentee ballots before election day and the fact that more than 4,000 remain either uncounted because of a machine problem or are still under review on whether they should be counted earlier. As I wrote earlier, counting of some 1,200 ballots is expected to be completed tomorrow after ballots that couldn’t be read by the machine were duplicated for counting anew.
Monday, the Election Commission — two Republicans one Democrat — will decide which of the ballots with irregularities may be counted.
We have no information yet on the precise breakdown of ballots outstanding or, more importantly, where they come from. The location is of importance in municipal, state and judicial races, at least potentially.
It should be noted that the Commission staff reports to the Commission on election matters, but is under the operational control of the Democratic county judge in Pulaski County. More remains to be known about what occurred election day on absentee votes. The process took longer than expected, Bryan Poe, the staff director, told me yesterday. The failure of a new counting machine to read a number of ballots seems a random happenstance.
Elliott nonetheless contended “intentional decisions” contributed to the late canvassing (checking of identification information) and then counting. She acknowledged that even if every absentee went for her it wouldn’t make up her 32,000-vote loss. “But I want to see every vote canvassed and counted today.”
She said she will concede to HIll but not to an effort to “restore trust in democracy.”
She took no questions.