Question raised about absence of election commissioners when LR vote announced | Arkansas Blog

Monday, December 16, 2013

Question raised about absence of election commissioners when LR vote announced

Posted By on Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 9:13 AM

What if they held an election and no election commissioner showed up?

An anonymous e-mailer raises this procedural question about Pulaski County Election Commission activities last week when Little Rock voters overwhelmingly approved bond financing for a Robinson Center renovation project.

Said my tipster:

Arkansas law and election commission procedures say, “immediately after the count of the vote is complete on election day, the county board of election commissioners shall declare and report preliminary and unofficial results...” They are also supposed to “Declare preliminary and unofficial results of the election, including a statement of the number of outstanding ballots of voters who requested ballots under the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act; and provisional ballots.” (A.C.A. §7-5-701).

Brian Poe, director of the Election Commission staff, confirms that only Commissioner Chris Burks was present at any time during the vote tabulating last Tuesday night. No commissioner was present when the commission staff announced the unofficial results. So, asks the tipster, does this raise a question about validity of the election?

Poe says he took the question to Pulaski County Attorney Karla Burnett and she said the vote was "kosher." The official results won't be certified, in any case, until Dec. 20. Time must be allowed for return of overseas absentee ballots.

The absence of commissioners was noted and voiced to the commission, which held a special meeting last Wednesday and adopted a motion by absentee Commissioner Phil Wyrick that commissioners be present at elections in the future. Leonard Boyle Sr. is the third commissioner. 

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