The Jefferson County Election Commission is expected to hold a meeting soon to announce that an error was discovered on ballots for the November General Election.
According to an email sent by Commission Secretary Stuart Soffer Tuesday, Arkansas law adopted in the last session of the general assembly now requires that uncontested candidates for mayor and city clerk now be listed on the ballot.
Pine Bluff City Clerk Candidate Janis Roberts is listed. However, the commission did not indicate she was a Democrat and ES&S automatically listed her as a “Nonpartisan”. It is printed on absentee ballots and on the Express Vote touchscreen for all Pine Bluff precincts.
When this occurs, Arkansas Code Annotated §7-5-206 requires the election commission to meet, announce what occurred and immediately correct the error or omission or show cause why the correction should not be done.
In my opinion the requisite word is “correction,” Soffer said in the email. My recommendation is the Clerk shall immediately begin making a pen and ink correction to any absentee ballots mailed. She also has the option of sending a letter to those already mailed Pine Bluff precinct absentee ballots notifying them; however, given the nature of the contest and error, that would not be my recommendation. As far as for election day, a notice on each Express Vote ballot marker in Pine Bluff precincts informing voters of the error should suffice.
Soffer also said he had contacted ES&S and asked them to ensure the ERM reports contain the correction.