Commission certifies election results

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mississippi County's election results from Nov. 6 were officially certified Tuesday by the county's Election Commission. The commission reviewed challenged absentee ballots and counted election day provisional, military and other ballots not counted on election day.

No election results were changed by the addition of the votes which were counted, but two questionable ballots will be forwarded to the office of Prosecuting Attorney Scott Ellington because of a suspicion of misuse.

One of the ballots, cast absentee in Luxora, appears to have been used by two different people, according to a witness account and two differing signatures on the voter statement and ballot application. The other ballot was questioned by a Blytheville voter who turned up to the polls on election day, only to find that someone using her name had already cast an absentee ballot. Both ballots will be sent to the prosecutor's office with a letter requesting investigation.

The ballot of former U.S. Congressman Bill Alexander was also challenged, because poll workers stated that he has not lived in Mississippi County for 30 years. Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to count the ballot, saying that Alexander had previously submitted a letter to the commission stating his intent to return to Mississippi County some time in the future. Another reason for the challenge was a possible misspelling of the street name on Alexander's given Osceola address -- Caroline Street on one form and Carolyn on another.

"There is no Caroline Street in Osceola," said Commissioner Tom Wiktorek. "Two years ago he [Alexander] said he voted but didn't know that his house here had been sold, and now he doesn't know what street he lives on. We can't count it by law because the address doesn't exist."

Commissioners also made plans to investigate possible voter registration issues at the Department of Human Services and the Department of Motor Vehicles. A number of voters turned up to cast their ballot on election day believing they were registered, because they had done so at the DHS or the DMV, only to find that they were not registered at all and were not eligible to vote.

In other election news, both early voting at the Greyhound Station in Blytheville and election night vote counting at Arkansas Northeastern College's Burdette Campus were reported to have gone smoothly. Commissioners requested that community members contact them with feedback regarding the Burdette tabulation site.

A new polling site for Ward 2 in Blytheville is now needed; Election Coordinator Johnny Buchanan told the commission that 10th Street Baptist Church has requested voting not return to its facility in the future because of scheduling conflicts. A new site will not be needed for another two years, but commissioners agreed to be on the lookout for a new site.