Crawford County Election Commission hands out 30+ wrong ballots

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Election commissions are not only cleaning up polling sites due to the ongoing health crisis, but some are having to also clean up technical mistakes.

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CRAWFORD COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A programming error leads to more than 30 wrong ballots being used in Crawford County.

The issues are now resolved, but some have already cast a vote.

I think there are approximately 34 ballots that may have been cast in the wrong races.

BILL COLEMAN, CRAWFORD COUNTY ELECTION COMMISSION, CHAIRMAN

Crawford County Election Commission Chairman Bill Coleman said a voter noticed the wrong races on their ballot on Wednesday, October 21.

“I was surprised,” Coleman said. “I mean no one had mentioned anything about any problems before that.”

Coleman said it was a programming error, which didn’t get sorted out until three days into early voting.

“We got everything fixed as soon as we figured out what the problem was,” he said.

The error impacted five races:

  • U.S. Congress District 3
  • U.S. Congress District 4
  • Arkansas House District 80
  • Crawford County JP District 1
  • Cedarville Annexation
COURTESY OF BENTON COUNTY

This isn’t the first ballot discrepancy reported in our region, though.

Just two days ago, five words didn’t transfer over from the Benton County sample ballot to the electronic ballot voters actually see.

With that many officials, this many jurisdictions, mistakes are not common but they aren’t uncommon.

ANDREW DOWDLE, POLITICAL SCIENCE, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS

University of Arkansas Political Science Professor Andrew Dowdle said due to negative partisanship, these types of errors are magnified.

“The fact that your candidate may be excluded or harmed in some way ends ups becoming I think a bigger deal, just because you end up feeling that the only option you have is voting for somebody in a party that you dislike,” he said.

Both issues in Benton and Crawford County have been resolved, but we won’t know the impact they had until November 3.

“If there’s something that’s within the margin or error, then we can address that at that time,” Coleman said.

We will speak with the candidates and find some sort of compromise or resolution before [the] certification of results.

CHANNING BARKER, BENTON COUNTY COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

Stay with KNWA/FOX 24 as we continue to follow this story.

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