MARION, AR (abc24.com) – For the first time, the woman who lost a shot at a seat in the Arkansas State House because of a fraudulent election is speaking out.
Kim Felker lost the District 54 Democratic Primary to Hudson Hallum. District 54 includes West Memphis, Marion, Earle, and Turrell.
Hallum admitted in court to conning people for their absentee ballots and destroying those for his opponents.
Now he and three campaign workers are awaiting sentencing.
Only eight votes separated Kim Felker and Hudson Hallum, but he had more than 400 absentee votes to Felker's mere 69.
She knew it wasn't a coincidence, and turns out she was right.
“Cause it was so close we kept thinking all we needed were eight more votes, all we needed were eight more votes but now it's clear it didn't matter what we did,” Felker said.
To say that Felker was cheated is an understatement. The former teacher and mother of three would likely be a state representative had Hudson Hallum not conned voters for their absentee ballots.
“I think about all of that and I feel we all have been defrauded and it is hurtful,” Felker said.
With the help of his father, who is a West Memphis city councilman, and a former West Memphis cop, Hudson Hallum offered people food and cash in exchange for their absentee ballots. He stole others. If voters filled them out for Kim Felker, they were destroyed.
Macy Johnson was one of the defrauded voters.
“If my vote showed up at the courthouse as if I voted and I didn't, that's against the law,” Johnson said.
Last year we grilled Hallum about the allegations.
“As far as what they're doing we don't know. Out on the ground I'm not out there with them; I would like to think that's not going on in this election,” Hallum had told abc24.com.
But it was. Felker upset fellow Democrats by not supporting Hallum after she lost the primary. Instead, she told a prosecutor about the voting irregularities. That led to a federal investigation and ultimately Hallum's guilty plea.
“We've got to take action when we see something that's not right, we've got to fight and make our communities better,” Felker said.
As for Felker's political career, she has no plans to run for office again. She hopes Hallum's conviction will make for a better election process.
The fallout is far from over. A special prosecutor is investigating other accusations of voter fraud in Crittenden County.
Hudson Hallum was not available for comment. In an email to fellow Democratic legislators Hallum apologized for his actions saying, "I took some bad advice that led to some bad decisions on my part."
No word on how soon Hallum and the others could be sentenced. They could wind up behind bars for five years.