ELECTION COMMISSION: Barry Haas addressed the Pulaski County Election Commission Tuesday as part of a settlement over a lawsuit prompted by former Republican chair Kristi Stahr (above).

Barry Haas, who sued the Pulaski County Election Commission in federal court over its refusal to allow him to be a poll worker in 2021, addressed the commission tonight as part of a settlement agreement reached last year

Haas sued the commission last year after then-commissioner Kristi Stahr, a Republican and chair of the commission at the time, objected to Haas working the polls after having been a plaintiff in lawsuits challenging the state’s voter ID law. Stahr claimed that Haas had stated on social media that would not uphold the state’s voter ID laws. 


Haas said he had made no such statements, that Stahr “lacked a scintilla of evidence,” and called Stahr’s remarks “slanderous.” 

The settlement, reached last month, required the commission to allow Haas to make a statement and to have a meeting with commission chairman David Scott


Here is the statement Haas gave to the commission today:

I’m going to begin by giving you a sense of who I am.

I came to Arkansas in August of 1967 to serve on a Titan II nuclear missile launch crew at Little Rock Air Force Base.  I had a secret security clearance, and received an honorable discharge after serving four years active duty from 1966 to 1970.

Fast forward about 30 years to around 2001 when I spotted a “Be a poll worker” brochure while voting.  I applied, was approved and have been a poll worker for more than 20 years.  At one time I was chief judge at Parkway Place Baptist Church in west Little Rock.  For years that polling place, one of the busiest in the county and state, had about 4,500 eligible voters, far above the state mandated 3,000 voter maximum.

In November 2008 my fellow poll workers and I helped roughly 1,800 in-person voters cast their ballots in 12 hours during the presidential election.  I was an Election Day poll worker until November 2020 when due to Covid and my age I transitioned to being an absentee ballot clerk.

During my two decades serving as a poll worker to my knowledge there has never been a complaint about either my willingness or my ability to comply with every federal or state law regarding voting.

Now, I’m going to ask you to put yourselves in my shoes as I continue my statement, and think about how you would respond if serious but totally false accusations were made in public against you.

On September 7, 2021 former Pulaski Co. Election Commission Chair Kristi Stahr falsely accused me of posting on social media that I would not comply with the state’s voter ID law.  When then Commissioner Susan Inman asked Stahr “Do you have proof?”, Stahr responded “I’ve read their statements on social media stating this in recent months, that they are not going to uphold the law on voter ID …”.

This was a made up accusation and retaliatory act to prevent me from serving as an absentee ballot clerk in an upcoming special election.  The problem for Stahr is I have never been a user or had an account at Facebook, Twitter or any other popular social media sites on which she is most likely a user.  More importantly, I have never stated, written or posted anywhere online that I would refuse to follow any election law while serving as a poll worker.

Why would Stahr make such a false claim?  Because I had served as a plaintiff in two lawsuits challenging the state’s voter ID law, and she brought that up in support of her false accusation.

As a military veteran, I take our constitutional right to vote very seriously.  I also know the Arkansas Constitution includes very strong protections for our right to vote.  My opposition to the state’s voter ID law while it was in the court system was to protect and preserve both my right to vote as well as my fellow citizens’ right to vote, plain and simple.

I filed a federal lawsuit against the Pulaski County Election Commission to correct Stahr’s false and retaliatory accusation.  While only Stahr is truly culpable, the lawsuit had to include the entire commission.  Former commissioner Inman contested Stahr’s accusation, and is wholly without blame in this matter.

Commissioner David Scott, the current Chair, was blindsided by Stahr’s accusation during that meeting.  He and I met last week as required by the Settlement Agreement.  I explained to Chairman Scott that at first I held him blameless in what had happened since he said during the September 7, 2021 commission meeting in response to Stahr’s accusation: “I don’t have any direct knowledge of what you’re speaking about today.”  I told Chairman Scott that thinking about it in the days after the meeting took place I was somewhat disappointed that as an attorney and with legal training he didn’t question such a serious accusation being made without any proof.  I understand from our one-on-one discussion last week he felt he had little choice under the law but to approve the list of needed supplemental poll workers with my name taken off as demanded by Stahr.  I accept his explanation.

As part of the Settlement Agreement between the Pulaski County Election Commission and myself, I sought no monetary damages or reimbursement for legal expenses.  I did seek to clear my good name from the unfortunate smear by Stahr.  And I hope that the Settlement Agreement that includes specific training for election commissioners on the First Amendment rights of everyone, including poll workers, prevents any current or future poll worker from being retaliated against as I was by Stahr.

The position of county election commissioner is nonpartisan.  Partisans have no business serving in such a capacity.  You can be a political partisan, or you can be a nonpartisan election commissioner.  You can’t be both at the same time.  They are mutually exclusive by law.

It’s fortunate that Stahr is no longer on this election commission since she was clearly incapable of leaving her partisanship at home while a part of this nonpartisan body.  It’s unfortunate she left this mess for you to clean up.

At this point I’m willing to answer any questions you may have, or discuss this issue as you may wish.