The Democratic candidate for Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District has officially conceded the race, but also called for the counting of each absentee ballot in the district.
Arkansas State Sen. Joyce Elliott lost to incumbent congressman French Hill by around 10%, which amounted to around 30,000 votes. The race had been the closest congressional race in the state, and Democrats’ best change at flipping a seat. Polling showed less that one percentage point separating Elliott and Hill up to Election Day.
Speaking to reporters Wednesday, Elliott said she would call Hill to concede, but also spoke on the Pulaski County Election Commission’s decision to toss out over 4,000 absentee ballots.
"Instead of doing what every other county did and canvass absentee ballots before election day. Pulaski County decided to start late and leave thousands of absentee ballots uncanvassed until polls closed late last night. That could have been my ballot. That could have been your ballot," Elliott said.
The Pulaski County Election Commission made the decision on Tuesday night to toss out the selected ballots was due to missing information such as birthdates and addresses. Elliott said this decision could undermine voters’ faith in the democratic process.
"It is not lost on me that this happened in a heavily democratic county, with the election rules controlled by a minority party. Why is Pulaski County the only place this is happening in this district? Why has partisanship taken over our election officials, to destroy the trust in our democracy?" Elliott said,
Elliott called for every absentee vote in the district, primarily in Pulaski County, to be canvassed and counted today and said she would not concede "the effort to restore trust in our democracy and count every vote."
Elliott, who had hoped to become the first Black woman to represent Arkansas in the U.S. House of Representatives, initially published a statement on Tuesday night stating she was not yet conceding the race and called for the counting of a number of outstanding absentee and provisional ballots.