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Former Election Commissioner Announces Arkansas Secretary Of State Bid

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Daniel Breen
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KUAR News

A Democrat has announced his bid to serve as Arkansas' next Secretary of State. Former Pulaski County Election Commissioner Josh Price announced his bid to unseat one-term Republican incumbent John Thurston at an event in Little Rock on Wednesday.

Price touted his experience and accomplishments as a local elections official that he says would serve him well in the new position.

“We worked to expand the number of early voting locations, we went from eight to 12, we replaced 20-year-old machines," Price said. "I personally recruited and trained hundreds of poll workers, because a lot of them had dropped out during the pandemic… and I worked to ensure every valid vote was counted.”

In Arkansas, the Secretary of State’s office is responsible for overseeing business registration, as well as maintaining the state Capitol grounds and assisting counties in holding federal, statewide and local elections.

Speaking with KUAR News, Price said he would help business owners navigate the process of getting funding from the federal government.

“Every business and nonprofit in the state has to register with the Secretary of State, yet that office offered little to no guidance [to] these hard-working Arkansans during the pandemic. Every Arkansan should have the opportunity to pursue the American Dream of owning their own business,” Price said.

Price criticized Thurston’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, specifically messaging around federal relief payments to small businesses. Price said he would also seek to standardize the election process in Arkansas, and to expand the number of polling places in the state.

“Right now, every county has their different tweaks or takes on their policy and how they carry those out, or different voter statements for absentee ballots. But to have that standard across the board, I think, would really help the people of Arkansas because then your voter experience is the same, no matter where you are,” Price said.

Price is a native of Delight in southwest Arkansas and previously worked for the U.S. Small Business Administration. So far, no other Democrats have entered the race for Secretary of State. The general election is set for November of 2022.

So far, incumbent Secretary of State Thurston faces a challenge for the Republican nomination from State Rep. Mark Lowery of Maumelle

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