A discrepancy during early voting in Jefferson County is leading the State Board of Election Commissioners and the Secretary of State's Office to reiterate the rules regarding crossvoting in elections.
This scenario involved people who claim they voted in one party's primary, but the poll books show they voted in another. If they're allowed to cast a ballot for a different party than in the primary -- , it's called "crossover voting"
According to the Secretary of State's Director of Election, he heard allegations out of Jefferson County that two early voters disputed the party recorded on the books for the May 20 primary election. The voters claimed they had cast Republican ballots but were being given Democratic ballots during early voting.
In that instance, according to the Secretary of State's office, procedure would call for the voters to fill out a provisional ballot that would later be reviewed and either accepted or rejected by the election commission.
In this instance, according to the Secretary of State's office, the voter was allegedly allowed to fill out an actual ballot.
KARK followed up with Jefferson County's election coordinator who tells me to his knowledge the voters filled out the ballot that corresponded with the party recorded from the primary.
According to the Secretary of State's office, once an official ballot is submitted there is no recourse for recalling it, except for the issue to be taken to the Circuit Court and the election to be nullified. Crossover voting is a misdemeanor crime in Arkansas, which can result in fines and incarceration for the voter.
If a poll worker knowingly allows a voter to "crossover" it's a felony. The Secretary of State and the Board of Election Commissioners plan to send a reminder of the policy out to election officials to reiterate the process.
The board also discussed the two complaints it had received regarding Voter ID during its meeting on Thursday. According to the board, both allegations involved voters who claimed they had been questioned about information on their ID or otherwise "assessed".
The board agreed to investigate the complaints further before responding to the complainants. The board wanted specific details regarding whether the polling locations involved were using electronic poll books, if the poll workers involved had been trained or had training materials provided to them.
Commissioners raised questions about modifying the training and procedure for those poll workers using electronic poll books with driver's license scanning capability. Commissioners discussed whether poll workers should ask for driver's licenses, which the tablets are capable of reading to populate information fields.
Martha Adcock, general counsel for the Secretary of State's office, urged the board to compel poll workers and election officials to follow the process as outlined in state code.
Adcock told the board the code does not require that a voter have a driver's license or that identification be current. Commissioners decided to encourage poll workers to follow the process and inform voters that the tablets have the capability if they would like to provide their license.
Adcock added that and for voters to arrive to the polls and present an ID that is a proper form of identification where information may not match the information in the voter registration is "just not proper".
"We need to do due diligence in following what is in the code," she said. "And that is asking for a voter's name, then their address, then their date of birth and only then asking for proof of identification."
Commissioners reiterated the need to inform election officials and workers that a voter should never be refused a ballot, and at the least be provided an option to fill out a provisional ballot.
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