Pulaski County Clerk Pat O'Brien urges new voters to check his website to be sure their applications have cleared. Some have been held "in suspense" because of omissions -- a forgotten signature, etc. Read on for more info and a report on other voter issues.
MEMO FROM PAT O'BRIEN
To: New voter registrants
From: Pat O’Brien, Pulaski Circuit/County Clerk
Re: Completing the Voter Application Process
Date: October 14, 2008
Applications in “Suspense”
There have been a lot of rumors floating around Arkansas and the country regarding the registration of new voters. I have no information and no comment on issues that have been raised in other states. To my knowledge, Pulaski County has not had any allegations of fraudulent voter applications being submitted for approval. However, we have seen an important but non-controversial issue arise – failure by some potential registrants to complete the voter application.
When a potential voter does not fully complete their application, the application is placed into a category we call “suspense”. This means that the voter will not be in our voter database until and unless they fully complete the voter form. We currently have 1,453 voter applications in suspense for the year 2008. Since September 1, 2008, there have been 619 (out of the 1,453) applications placed into suspense in Pulaski County.
Common reasons for an application being placed into suspense include: failure to sign the application, listing a P.O. Box instead of a physical address as a residence, and/or failure to answer all of the questions asked by the form. There have even been a couple of applications that did not contain an address at all on it (though that is rare). When our office determines that an application will be placed into suspense, we immediately send out a letter to the potential registrant (along with the application) explaining what must be done to complete the process. It is critical that these potential voters properly complete the application and return it to our office. We strongly advise that a voter bring the form to the county courthouse in person unless that is not an option.
If a person does not complete their voter application properly before they show up at a poll, they will not be allowed to vote. In short, there are 1,453 people in Pulaski County who we need to reach with this message so they will be able to either early vote or vote on November 4th.
New Registration Statistics
Our office has registered 19,672 new registrants to Pulaski County in 2008. Since September 1, 2008 we have registered 10,101. However, those are not final statistics. We received several thousand more registrations that were post-marked by October 6th but did not arrive in our office until late last week. Since the forms are mailed to the Secretary of State’s office it takes a couple of days before we get them. We expect to complete all registrations by the end of this week.
If a new registrant does not receive a voter card in the mail then there could be an issue. We strongly suggest that people check their status at www.PulaskiClerk.com.
Early voting starts on October 20th. If someone is already registered but needs to change their address within their county they must do so at least four days prior to November 4th. Therefore, they could handle this during most of early voting.
There have been 4,755 absentee ballots sent out thus far in Pulaski County