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Ethics Accusations Made Against Jefferson County's Clerk

An election commissioner says the Jefferson County clerk used her office as a way to make changes in her filing papers after the deadline.
PINE BLUFF, AR -- A heated debate sparks up during the Jefferson County Election Commission's meeting.

One of the commissioners says the county clerk used her office as a way to back-date some election filing documents.

According to one of the election commissioners, the county clerk wanted her name changed on the ballot to reflect her title after she found out she wouldn't be running un-opposed.

That in itself wasn't the problem, but she's being accused of making the changes past the filing deadline and trying to cover it up by changing the date on her papers.

During tonight's Election Commission meeting, Commissioner Stu Soffer brought up what he called the felony offense.

He says County Clerk Patricia Johnson changed her name on the ballot -- to reflect her title -- after the filing deadline of March 3rd.

However, according to filing documents, she stated the date as February 25th.

During the meeting, Commissioner Soffer said, "I make the motion that we forward this issue to the prosecuting attorney for evaluation."

However the Chairman of the Election Commission, Ted Davis, said, "I am not supporting that motion. I see no malicious intent here."

Johnson told us her name was typed out on the filing application wrong the first time and she simply wanted to make a correction.

She said, "I didn't realize my employee didn't type that so I sent it over to be changed. He (the election coordinator) said it couldn't be changed and I said OK."

Election Commissioner Soffer says he will make a complaint asking for the prosecuting attorney to look further into the county clerk's filing.

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