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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Pulaski County disqualified 10 percent of absentee ballots

Posted By on Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:48 PM

The Pulaski County Election Commission met today and it appears 62 of 636, or just about 10 per cent of mail absentee ballots cast in the county were disqualified for lack of a proper ID. That's better than the 80 percent in St. Francis County, but still a big number.

Of more than 40,000 in-person voters, 25 filled out provisional ballots for failure to have proper ID at the poll. As of Thursday, two of those had produced an ID so their vote could count.

There is no count — if it exists — of people who told the ACLU that they tried but were unable to get the legally required provisional ballot when found to have insufficient ID.

More to come on the discussion of misapplication of the Voter ID law in which election workers were quizzing voters on birthdates and addresses on the photo IDs, which are supposed to be used only for photo purposes. A separate part of the process covers birthday and address.

The Pulaski County Election Commission filed the lawsuit that led to invalidation of a state Board of Election Commissioners rule aimed at trying to fix a big flaw in the state law — no way for an absentee voter to cure the failure to provide an ID before votes are certified. In-person voters have that opportunity. That case also led to a ruling striking down the whole law, but the Arkansas Supreme Court said that issue hadn't been fully litigated. Circuit Judge Tim Fox issued a similar ruling in a separate lawsuit by the ACLU and the Arkansas Public Law Center (on whose board I set), but the Supreme Court stayed that ruling and the ID law took effect.

The Pulaski Commission will notify disqualified absentee voters that their vote didn't count and why.

Election Commissioner Chris Burks tells me the Commission voted to "revamp training and revise poll worker personnel policies this summer." This will allow the chief judge to quickly correct problems that develop, such as the improper interpretation of the ID law.

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