Of­fi­cials miss al­most 900 votes

Thumb drive over­looked; elec­tion out­comes not af­fected

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NORTHWEST ARKANSAS - MIKE JONES

ROGERS — Ben­ton County elec­tion of­fi­cials failed to count al­most 900 votes Tues­day night be­cause of an over­looked com­puter thumb drive.

Kim Den­ni­son with the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion said no elec­tion out­comes were af­fected by the miss­ing votes, which were from the Cen­tro Cris­tiano de Rogers church on First Street.

The thumb drive was found Wed­nes­day at the bot­tom of a bag brought in from the vote cen­ter lo­ca­tion Tues­day night. In all, 897 votes were missed.

“It sim­ply got over­looked,” Den­ni­son said Thurs­day.

Rus­sell An­za­lone, chair­man of the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion, stressed Thurs­day the re­sults pro­vided Tues­day night were un­of­fi­cial.

“We try to do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to make sure ev­ery vote is counted,” An­za­lone said. “Some­times, you don’t catch ev­ery­thing. Some­thing fell through the cracks, yes it did.”

Den­ni­son took the elec­tion tape, a print­out of all votes cast at the lo­ca­tion, and added the num­bers to see if any races changed.

Den­ni­son said Christie Craig, a Demo­crat run­ning for the Arkansas House Dis­trict 96 seat held by Rep. Grant Hodges, was look­ing at precinct by precinct num­bers on the state elec­tion web­site and no­ticed the num­bers from that area of Rogers seemed low. Craig con­tacted the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

Hodges beat Craig by 5,349 votes (68 per­cent) to Craig’s 2,496 votes (32 per­cent). Craig picked up 334 votes at the missed site and Hodges got 252 votes.

Craig said she stud­ied the area in the leadup to the elec­tion be­cause she lives about 2 miles from Cen­tro Cris­tiano, which is her precinct. On elec­tion day, the turnout seemed low to her and that’s when she started to look at the state web­site.

“Th­ese are my neigh­bors,”

she said Thurs­day. “I knew this wasn’t go­ing to flip the elec­tion, but it was im­por­tant that all the votes be counted.”

In the Ward 1, Po­si­tion 1 Rogers City Coun­cil race, Mandy McDon­ald Bras­hear added 292 votes cast for her. She had 6,519 votes (47 per­cent). Shawn Wright had 155 votes at that site. He was in sec­ond place with 2,855 votes (21 per­cent). Clint Hop­per had 76 votes cast for him and Rick Stocker got 66 at that lo­ca­tion. Hop­per was third and Stocker was fourth in Tues­day’s vot­ing.

Noth­ing can be done with the thumb drive un­til 4 p.m. to­day when the com­mis­sion meets in Rogers. Pre­lim­i­nary and un­of­fi­cial votes will then be amended, Den­ni­son said. Pro­vi­sional bal­lots also will be counted to­day. The com­mis­sion is still wait­ing for over­seas mil­i­tary bal­lots to ar­rive, Den­ni­son said.

“It will all sort out at the end,” An­za­lone said.

In Ben­ton County, 76,862 peo­ple, or 48 per­cent of the reg­is­tered vot­ers, voted in Tues­day’s midterm.

Elec­tion re­sults will be cer­ti­fied next Fri­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.