BLYTHEVILLE, AR (abc24.com) - Questionable absentee ballots in an Arkansas election are headed to a state prosecutor after a Mississippi County clerk raised concerns about the high number of ballots in the election. Now the county's election commission wants an investigation.
Those ballots were cast in an election that included runoffs for the State’s House of Representatives. The number of questionable ballots did not have an impact on who won those races, but it is impacting the integrity of voting in Mississippi County.
“Everybody should get one vote,” said Mississippi County Election Commissioner Tom Wiktorek.
That may not have been the case in last week's election. More than a 100 absentee ballots were called into question. 52 of them were thrown out.
“Here's one signature that doesn't match,” Wiktorek said, referencing one of the disputed ballots.
The John Hancock’s on many of the ballots raised eyebrows. Wiktorek says other ballots were thrown out for wrong addresses.
“If the Board of Election Commissioners determine that the application and voter statements do not compare as to name, address, date of birth and signature, the absentee ballots shall not be counted,” Wiktorek said.
The errors could have been honest mistakes, or a con's handiwork.
“There could be some cases where some people didn't get the ballots and somebody else did and they voted,” Wiktorek said.
That’s illegal and could lead to jail time. Three ballots were riddled with so many errors they are being turned over to the prosecutor. A similar scenario played out last year in Crittenden County where several questionable ballots prompted an investigation by Arkansas State Police.
“If you can get to the courthouse and apply for an absentee ballot, you ought to be able to stop by right there while voting is taking place and vote on a voting machine,” Wiktorek said.