WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Northwest Arkansas election officials have seen an influx in people submitting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for 2020 election data.
Director of Elections for Washington County Jennifer Price said the election process is all public and she wants people to understand how it’s all run. One of the ways people are trying to do that is by submitting FOIA requests and many are looking for 2020 election data.
“We’ve certainly had a lot more FOIA requests than we’ve ever had in the past,” Price said.
Price said a lot of the requests are looking for the cast vote record, which doesn’t exist in Washington County and isn’t required to exist by law.
“This cast vote record is basically rather than a summation of the election, it’s a line by line detailed report of the ballots that were voted and how each of those ballots were voted,” Price said.
Max Deitchler is an election commissioner in Washington County. He said he thinks the requests are coming from concerns about the security of the 2020 election.
“The basis for these requests is people believe in that there was some type of fraud that was prevalent or widespread in the 2020 election, which is not the case and which has been rejected by courts across the country,” Deitchler said.
Deitchler said the requests the county is seeing are identical to one another.
“They’re following directions online that they see to request these certain documents without having any background themselves in the election process,” Deitchler said.
Price said the county is always preparing to keep elections secure and the prep for the November election is already in full swing.
“Before any election, we always do a thorough testing called logic and accuracy, and is required by law for every county to perform this on the voting equipment,” Price said.
Both Price and Deitchler encourage the public to learn exactly how local elections are run from the source.
“I invite people to come down to our public meetings to see how we run elections, I’d invite them to get involved in the process,” Deitchler said.
Benton County also told KNWA/FOX 24 it’s seen an influx of 2020 election FOIAs, but the requests have slowed down.