As Early Voting Began, One Arkansas County Failed To List Secretary Of State Candidate
Garland County election officials say they have corrected a mistake that led to the Democratic candidate for Secretary of State not being listed on the ballot. Three early voting locations in the county were were closed for a breif time Monday, which was the first day of early voting.
222 ballots had been submitted without Susan Inman’s name on it, according to Gene Haley, chairman of the Garland County Election Commission. He said the ommission was noticed at 8:15 a.m.
"A voter informed us that there was a candidate that did not show up on the machine that marks the ballot," Haley said. "We basically had to shut down the polls until we could get that corrected."
Haley says the mistake happened when they copied data from the primary election back in May.
"Some of the candidates, their party affilation stayed with them and because a general election is non-partisan, they didn't show up on the ballot," he explained. "The answer to that is we had to re-enter each candidate when we were doing our logic and accuracy testing 10 days ago. When we re-entered them, evidently this one person got left off."
Haley also says there was an error with the spelling of the name Republican candidate for Secretary of State John Thurston.
Inman says she thinks the ommission is an extremely careless mistake and was shocked when she learned it had happened. A friend of Inman's, who wanted to cast her vote for her, texted Inman to let her know she was not listed on the ballot.
"[I was] first intially told by Garland County that it wasn't possible for my name to be left off," she said. "Then they called back that, oops, yes that was their mistake. So I called the Secretary of State's office around that time too and asked them to make sure it was not happening anywhere else."
Inman says the incident does seem isolated to Garland County and was a mistake with their programmer.
"It should never had happened because all of those things are supposed to be checked and verified before the information ever goes out to the people for casting thier ballots," Inman said.
Haley says the voting locations were closed for about an hour, but then reopened.
"We're completely up and running in all locations," he says. "We had 222 when this occured and we're at 1,115 now. So we've had 900 ballots cast since this happened."
Inman, who is in favor of making Arkansas a vote by mail state, says it’s easier to verify the accuracy of a paper ballot over an electronic one. She also says her campaign will file a complaint with the Garland County Elecition Commission and the State Board of Election Commissioners.