Election Commission certifies primary election

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Mississippi County Election Commission addressed the Buffalo Island Central millage issue when it met Thursday, May 29, at the Mississippi County Courthouse in Blytheville to review provisional and absentee ballots before certifying the election results Friday, May 30.

Prior to looking at provisional and absentee ballots the Election Commission answered the question of whether the Buffalo Island Central millage issue would have to be on the Mississippi County school elections ballot in September. Since BIC is a Craighead County School but collects taxes in both Mississippi and Craighead County some citizens wondered if the issue would have to be on the ballot in both counties.

"No," said county clerk Janice Currie. "We always send a poll book to Craighead County. Since it is a Craighead County district they handle the election. The people of Leachville do get to vote in the election but Craighead County handles the setting up of polling sites. So the millage issue would not be on the Mississippi County ballot."

Election Commissioners Tom Wiktorek, George Hale and Bobbie Henson agreed. The Commissioners then began reviewing ballots. There had been a polling site where voting machines were down on Election Day and five voters had to vote provisional ballots. Those five ballots were counted. The Commission also counted two votes where voting machines did not recognize the voters address change. There were two voters including James Michael Ray from Leachville who had their voter registration canceled due to clerical error. Currie explained that the clerk's office was notified of duplicated names indicating a voter was registered somewhere else and because of that the office was instructed to cancel the voter registration. It turns out that Ray and Kenneth White of Osceola both have the same name and birthday as two gentlemen living somewhere else. Those two votes were counted and the Commission apologized for the error. Election Commissioners agree to count four other provisional votes before moving on to absentee ballots.

Election Commissioners went one by one through absentee ballots counting 12. But approximately 171 absentee ballots were not counted because identification was not included in the returned ballot, voter statements where not filled out properly, signatures did not match and other discrepancies. Most absentee ballots that were not counted had more than one discrepancy but 146 were not counted due to lack of identification. Commissioners explained with the changes in voting law even those voting absentee have to provide identification in the form of a copy of their drivers license, a utility bill, or some form of government identification.

After reviewing absentee and provisional ballots Thursday, the commission met Friday to certify the May 20 primary election results. There were 25 total absentee and provisional ballots counted. The additional votes did not change the outcome of any race.

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