The Faulkner County Election Commission met recently to draw for school board positions, but the commissioners left with more questions than answers concerning the general election ballots.
With Faulkner County Clerk Melinda Reynolds drawing an opponent in the form of Conway Alderman Mark Vaught, concerns were brought up about Reynolds being the main person involved in creating the ballots for the general election.
Reynolds initially had said she would not take part in the creation, but according to Commission chairman Frank Shaw, that had not been determined yet. "I feel like she will be helping us in that matter," Shaw said. Reynolds said she was not sure but declined to comment further.
Shaw said the commission is trying to weigh all the issues when it comes to fairness in the November election.
"We could send these out to [Election Systems & Software], but that has costs to it," Shaw said. "Something in the form of about $10,000 I believe. We have done it in house, and that saves the county money."
Shaw said he thinks the most important factor in preparing for the election is that everything be transparent and that the public be satisfied. He said all parties should feel like they are treated fairly.
The general election is far more intense than the earlier special elections, Shaw said, because of the different ballots. He said 159 separate ballots will have to be created for the county, and someone has to build them. Reynolds had been shouldering the effort for years, but with tension coming from different parties earlier in the year, the commission is welcoming alternatives to having the county clerk be the sole person responsible for the ballot.
Commissioner Chris Carnahan said he believed it would seem more fair if a third party took care of the preparations, and he pointed out that the quorum court recently authorized another position within the office.
A minor ballot snafu turned up during the primary election, and the commission had to deal with two district maps that caused some to file for office in different districts. Shaw said he wants to save the county money, but he also wants everything to be done as fairly as possible.
"We have looked at it both ways, and we will meet again until we decide," Shaw said. "But I think [Reynolds] will take part."
The commission will meet again at 3 p.m. Thursday.