The Pulaski County Election Commission
will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday at 501 West Markham Street to set polls for the March 11 special election
on a property tax millage for Pulaski Tech.
Also on the agenda: A discussion of provisional absentee ballot procedures.
Commissioner Chris Burks had said earlier
he hoped for a discussion on this issue in light of conflicting opinions from the secretary of state's office and the state Election Commission on what to do when absentee voters don't include an ID as specified by the 2013 voter ID law pushed through the legislature by Republicans. Most of the absentee ballots cast in a recent special Senate election in Craighead County lacked the required ID and weren't counted in the election-day tally. The commission decided to follow advice of the secretary of state — contrary to the rules of the state Election Commission — to publish notice of the deficiency and give absentee voters a week to produce an ID, just as in-person voters are allowed to do when they appear without an ID. Only a handful came in to validate votes.
Burks has said he'd like an attorney general's opinion. Ultimately, a court needs to decide if the whole voter ID law violates the Arkansas Constitution, but immediate questions on handling provisional absentee ballots are also pressing. Burks has expressed an interest in whether the Election Commission could be a plaintiff in a lawsuit over the law.