A Faulkner County Circuit Judge ruled Monday that the election commission should count votes for both candidates in the county clerk’s race but not certify the election.

Judge David Clark said he doesn’t want his court to have an impact on voter turnout by ruling either way.

"I want to make sure this court does not have a chilling impact on the election," he said during Monday’s motion hearing in the case four Faulkner County residents filed against Margaret Darter, the Faulkner County Election Commission and appointed County Clerk Tammie Lemings.

The residents are asking the court to find that Darter, who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor obstructing of governmental operations in October, is ineligible to run for or hold office. Darter faces Democrat Penny McClung in the election.

During Monday’s motion hearing, Clark also suggested the case would likely be decided by the Arkansas Supreme Court on an appeal. Darter’s attorney, Frank Shaw, and County Attorney David Hogue, who represents Lemings and the election commission, have said they would appeal an unfavorable outcome. Attorney Chris Burks — who represents the four residents, Milton and Claudia Davis, Carol Schedler and Michael Taylor — has not said whether his clients would appeal.

"The ruling of this court would not be final," Clark said.

Clark set a hearing in the case for 8:30 a.m. Nov .9, the day after the election.

The Log Cabin Democrat will continue to follow this developing story.

(Managing Editor Jeanette Anderton can be reached by email at jeanette.anderton@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1212. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)