by Max Brantley
County Clerk Pat O'Brien has sent a statement on the absentee voting we alluded to earlier.
Turns out that Ron Treat, a candidate for North Little Rock School Board, brought a bundle of 58 requests for absentee ballots to the clerk's office. That's permissible. But all asked that the ballots be sent to the same address, a ministry on MacArthur Drive. The law limits to two the number of absentee ballots that may be sent to the same address. The clerk's office sent all 58 to the same address.
"My office is responsible for not acting earlier on this and I will take corrective measures," O'Brien said. His full statement on the issue is here.
The ballot applications all contained the names of registered voters and properly completed addresses,O'Brien explained, but all requested that the ballots be returned to the ministry, not the voter's home.
By mid-afternoon Monday, 17 of the ballots had been returned. It will be a potential Election Commission decision, if a question is raised, on counting these ballots, O'Brien said.
Treat, who is opposing incumbent Marty Moore for the Zone 4 seat, said he complied with applicable laws on helping voters obtain absentee ballots. He said the ballots were returned to the one addreess so that he could be sure they'd reach voters, most of them elderly, who otherwise probably wouldn't get out to vote. "We would never do anything unethical," he said. He said voters completed the ballots without influence before they were mailed and he said he knew of one family where he was confident the votes went against him. "We don't think we've done anything wrong," Treat said.