The Faulkner County Election Commission on Tuesday voted against conducting a recount of the 2018 midterm election at the taxpayers’s expense.
Democrat Jackie Wright, who lost the District 5 Justice of the Peace seat to Republican Rose “Rosie” Roland on Nov. 6, requested the recount after it came to her attention that some voters who are in her district instead got ballots with District 4 on them.
The commission called an emergency meeting Thursday to discuss the issue but tabled discussion until County Attorney David Hogue, Wright and Roland could be present at a meeting.
On Thursday, commission chair Paul Foster said seven registered voters on Orchid Street whose ballots should have included District 5 instead included District 4.
“Seven people voted on that street — six of them voted erroneously for JP District 4. Once it was corrected, the seventh one voted a correct ballot once we found out about it,” he said at Thursday’s meeting. “We want to get this all straightened out.”
Since that time, Election Coordinator Teresa Horton and County Clerk Margaret Darter requested GIS (geographic information systems) maps from the state and the city of Conway to verify all of Districts 4 and 5.
“We pulled up each street and range and verified it,” Horton said.
Wright had the option to request a recount at her expense — it costs candidates 25 cents per vote with a cap of $2,500 — but opted not to. She will have 20 days after the commission certified the election, scheduled for Friday, to contest the election. If she does, a circuit judge would decide whether the irregularities warrant a revote.
Commissioner Ronnie Hall said he voted against a recount because Roland won the election by a margin of 280 votes and neither the voters on Orchid Street nor the outstanding Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act (UOCAVA) votes would change the outcome of the race.
There are 12 possible UOCAVA votes that must arrive by Friday in order to count.
Wright said she was disappointed that she had to point out the error to election officials rather than the other way around.
“I want the record to reflect this was not brought to my attention,” she said.