A ballot screwup in Washington County omits hot Senate race | Arkansas Blog

Friday, October 26, 2018

A ballot screwup in Washington County omits hot Senate race

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2018 at 7:09 AM

Another flaw in managing elections in Arkansas: The Washington County Election Commission failed to include the state Senate District 4 race on the ballot for Precinct 34 in Fayetteville.

That precinct is in the heart of Fayetteville, generally viewed as Democratic leaning. The Senate race pits Democrat Greg Leding against Republican Dawn Clemence in a race that drew attention at a candidate forum this week on account of a hot exchange between the candidates.

The Election Commission excuse was that the Senate district changed in 2011 following a Census and because the race hadn't been contested since, the addition of Precinct 34 was overlooked.

Fifty-four people voted early without the race on the ballot. Last night, the Election Commission decided they would be notified and provided a ballot or allowed to visit the Election Commission to vote on the race that was omitted.

On broader voting issues:

The Democratic Party has set up a vote protection team and said yesterday
that problems noted so far hadn't been serious, but raised some issues.

For one, recordkeeping isn't always perfect when county clerks mark voters as "inactive" for removal from rolls. Voters should check now to be sure their registrations are current.

For another, some counties are moving to "voting centers" to reduce the number of polling places. This means voters may no longer have a neighborhood poll and have to travel some distance to vote. Democrat Camille Bennett has, for example, raised some concerns about allocation of voting centers in Lonoke County, skewed toward the more populous and more Republican northern end of the county and away from the more Democratic southern end of the county. Keep an eye out. At a minimum, understand where your poll might be and endeavor to get there.

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