Election Commission gets bad ballots

Absentee forms put some residents in wrong district

By Ralph Hardin ralphhardin@gmail.com

The Crittenden County Election Commission held a special called meeting Wednesday night to address an issue with the ballot for the upcoming March 1 preferential primary and nonpartisan judicial elections. The issue, according to Election Commission Chairman, Dixie Carlson, concerned the Circuit Judge District 02, Division 06, Subdistrict 2.1 race. “The problem we have is that some voters are listed as being in District 2.1, when they should actually be in 2.2,” explained Election Commissioner Frank Barton. The race is for the Circuit Court Judge position being vacated by Judge Victor Hill, who is retiring. The two candidates for that seat are attorneys Tonya Alexander and Curtis Walker Jr. “This affects part of Earle, Jennette and maybe Sunset,” said Carlson. “We are trying to determine exactly where the problem is.” Barton said that eight absentee ballots before the problem was discovered. Once the issue was discovered, the Secretary of State was contacted. “We received a call from Josh Bridges at the Secretary of State’s Office about 3 p.m. Tuesday afternoon confirming that there was indeed a problem with our ballot and the 2.1 race,” said Barton. The district lines were redrawn in 2011 following the 2010 census. “We’re looking into it,” said Carlson, “but the main issue right now is that our ballot software will have to be corrected. ES&S will have to re-burn all the media for our machines.” The county uses ES&S (Election Systems & Service) for all elections. The correction will cost about $3,000. “We’ll get a partial reimbursement from the state,” said Carlson, “but we’ll be responsible for the rest, which will probably include a rush order charge.” The commission put a temporary hold on sending out any more absentee ballots until the corrections are made. The board also made plans to re-send ballots to anyone who turns in a ballot with the errant race on it. “The important thing is that we caught it,” said Carlson. “It’s unfortunate that it happened, but at least we found out about it before the actual (March 1) election.”

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