The line is open. I’ll close out with an update on my earlier post about the dilemma in Craighead County on absentee ballots mailed in without the newly required voter ID.
* COUNT THE VOTES: Scott McDaniel, chairman of the County Election Commission, said the group voted unanimously this afternoon to count the ballot. That follows advice of Secretary of State Mark Martin, but not that of the state Election Commission. The new law doesn’t specifically provide a means for an absentee voter to belatedly provide proof, as it does for in-person voters.
But to err on the side of protecting the franchise, McDaniel said the votes will be counted. But the 80 provisional ballots won’t be counted unless the voters who submitted them provide an ID to the county clerk. They have until noon Tuesday, because Monday, the normal deadline, is a state holiday.
The Commission won’t attempt to notify individual voters that their ballot is in question. McDaniel said it will place advertising every day until Tuesday and the ads, where possible, will list the names of all 135 people who requested absentee ballots, including those whose votes may have already been counted. He said they don’t want to miss anyone inadvertently.
As noted earlier, McDaniel and the ACLU are among many who, if they don’t oppose the voter ID law entirely and think it unconstitutional, say the existing law needs fixes.
PS — As I mentioned before, Republican John Cooper’s 1,100-vote victory in a special state Senate election isn’t endangered by the potential additional vote count.
* ARKANSAS HOUSE SEAT HIGHLIGHTED: The Washington Post puts the 2nd District seat currently held by departing Rep. Tim Griffin on its top 10 list of House seats to watch this year. Patrick Henry Hays, the former North Little Rock, mayor will be the Democratic nominee.
We believe that picking up this seat will be a tough task for Democrats. But the coordinated campaign in the state — top recruit Mike Ross is running for governor while the Democratic cavalry has rushed to the aid of vulnerable Sen. Mark Pryor — makes this a contest to watch. Keep an eye on Little Rock banking executive French Hill (R), who just had a big fundraising quarter.
* BOBCAT KILLED ON SOUTH UNIVERSITY: KTHV has photos and a report on a dead bobcat found alongside South University this morning.
* FRIDAY NIGHT FIGHTS/SHOTS FIRED: Just in from LRPD:
A husband wife disturbance started at 5400 Murray Drive and ended at 6401 Baseline Rd. The husband chased the wife, by vehicle, as she fled from him on Geyer Springs. An independent witness called the police at 5:04 p.m. after witnessing the husband’s aggressive driving behavior. The victim then drove to the Southwest Police Division in hopes that her husband would discontinue his aggressive actions. As she pulled up to the building he fired one more shot at her vehicle before fleeing the area. The vehicle had approximately five (5) bullet holes. The victim was not injured. At the time of this summary officers were unable to determine where the other shots were fired.
* OZARKS POWER LINE APPROVED: A PSC law judge today gave approval to a hotly contested SWEPCO power line through the Ozarks. Opponents vow an appeal.