Legislators call for more polls for May 9 Little Rock School District tax election | Arkansas Blog

Friday, April 14, 2017

Legislators call for more polls for May 9 Little Rock School District tax election

Posted By on Fri, Apr 14, 2017 at 12:19 PM

Seven state legislators from Little Rock have written Little Rock School Superintendent Michael Poore asking him to add an early voting place in the May 9 special tax election in which voters are being asked to extend 12.4 property tax mills for 14 years at an added cost of $600 million or more.

Sen. Joyce Elliott wrote the letter on behalf of herself and  Sen. Linda Chesterfield, Rep. Fred Love, Rep. Warwick Sabin and Rep. Charles Blake. She said they were concerned the school district had dropped plans for a poll at the McMath Library on John Barrow Road as well as one place downtown.

UPDATE: Rep. Clarke Tucker and Sen. Will Bond Little Rock wrote separately about the issue, joining the other five.

The McMath Library is not available, so the letter asked for Poore's help in finding another voting site in the Barrow Road area. The County Election Commission gave groups interested in more polls until Monday to come up with a place. Early voting is held for a week before the election.

The decision is up to the School District. The letter from Elliott closed:

Finally, we request that you as superintendent of the Little Rock School District make this decision regarding polling sites and not delegate it to others.
This is in reference to the discovery that school district election changes — including reopening a polling place at the Arkansas Arts Center — arose from conversations between a representative of the Stephens Inc. bond house, acting on behalf of the district, and the Election Commission. The election will decide on the refinancing of $200 million in bonds, which will generate bond counsel, legal and underwriting fees for various parties.

The School District has still not complied with my Freedom of Information Act request for information about financial details of the expected bond proposal.

Said the Tucker/Bond letter:

A paramount concern in any election is ensuring that the highest number of citizens have easy and free access to the ballot. That concern is accentuated in this election given that, unintentional though it may have been, an early voting location was publicized and then removed.

PS: The Election Commission has added a second early polling place in the Pulaski County School District special election June 13. It will be in Sherwood.

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