Partisan election control shifts in January | Arkansas Blog

Friday, December 12, 2014

Partisan election control shifts in January

Posted By on Fri, Dec 12, 2014 at 11:33 AM

Republican Sen. Eddie Joe Williams asked the attorney general for an opinion on when majority party status took effect in Arkansas — a designation that determines who controls the 75 county election commissions.

Status is determined by the political party that holds the majority of the seven statewide elected offices. Republicans have never held that status in the modern era, if ever. Nov. 4, they swept all seven offices.

Did the majority status occur election day, the date the vote was certified, or when?

Responded the attorney general in an official opinion:

Although the status of the "majority party" was determined at the November 4, 2014, general election — and the majority party is now the Republican Party (see A.C.A. 7-1-101(17)) — there will be no change in the composition of the county boards until sometime in January, 2015, because A.C.A. § 7-4-102 provides for the selection of commissioners in January of odd-numbered years.

That changeover, from a two-person Democratic majority to a two-person Republican majority will produce some changes, some good, some not so good. There are some counties badly in need of procedural cleanup. But the game of polling places, early voting ease and all the rest can and will be manipulated by the new majority just like the old majority.

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