Concerns over Fayetteville school board election ballot mix up


WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KFTA) — A mix up at the polls in Washington County on Friday, the Fayetteville school board race for zone 2 ended up in the wrong precinct. As a result, 77 early voters didn’t get a chance to vote in the race and at least 44 people may have cast a vote that wasn’t supposed to. The error was fixed but candidates in that race are concerned it’ll impact who takes the seat.

“It’s an injustice to the 77 people who didn’t get to have their voices heard and that could effect our race,” said running candidate Tracey Pomeroy.

“In a close election, 77 could count. It’s hard to say, the important thing is that people get the option to vote essentially,” said incumbent School Board Member Robert Maranto.

Pomeroy is running for Maranto’s seat on the Fayetteville school board, zone 2. Maranto said he was out with friends when he discovered an error on the ballots. “One of them mentioned they tried to vote for me but they couldn’t because the zone lines were shifted and I said no no that’s not correct,” said Maranto.

Washington County, Director of Elections, Jennifer Price said “9a was given a zone 2 ballot and 9b was given a zone 5 ballot which actually had no race on it, but they actually should have been swapped.”

Price said those who didn’t get the chance to vote will get a special ballot in the mail.

“When you think of the 44 people voted when they shouldn’t have and the 77 who couldn’t that could make a huge difference in the race,” said Pomeroy.

The 44 votes wrongfully cast for zone 2, will be counted because Price said election officials do not have a way to identify or remove any of the ballots with errors.

“It’s so important to be informed on what’s supposed to be on your ballot when you go in to vote and I’m very glad that the election owned up to it and made us aware of it,” said Pomeroy.

“As soon as they were told about it they handled it in an honest and professional fashion. That’s all you can ask for,” said Maranto.

Those who receive ballots in the mail have to return to the Washington County Clerk by March 3rd.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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