FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — UPDATE: On July 15, the complaint filed by District 25 state senate candidate Jody Harris was dismissed in the Circuit Court of Franklin County.


Candidate Jody Harris has filed a lawsuit in the Circuit Court of Franklin County contesting the results of the District 25 state senate Republican primary election.

Harris filed an Election Contest Complaint on June 14 following a recount in the election. Unofficial election night primary returns showed her trailing Chad Puryear by six votes. The recount did not change that result.

The court filing officially challenges the certification of results in Crawford County and asks the court to void the race results due to “election law violations and irregularities.” Under “factual allegations,” the filing notes that Harris was leading “near the conclusion of the race on election night,” and that absentee ballots were to be counted “later” before a poll watcher insisted that they be counted that night.

The document adds that the election commission later “found” 13 absentee ballots that had been “cast but not counted.” The filing states that only eight of those were for the District 25 race, and that Puryear received “exactly eight absentee votes” in Crawford County.

Harris attended the Crawford County recount on May 25 and found that the absentee ballots cast by voters were not present.

At one point, a poll watcher was told there were 167 absentee ballots, but that 70 had been left [at] another office. The CBEC went to retrieve the ballots, but the poll watcher did not accompany them and when they returned, there was no explanation given as to their findings.

Election Contest Complaint filed by Jody Harris on June 14

The filing notes multiple instances of “circumstantial evidence” indicating that the election “was not accurate or fairly conducted,” including the following:

  • Absentee ballots were not counted prior to the close of polls, violating state law
  • Duplicated absentee ballots were not properly marked
  • Some absentee ballots were counted when the results of the race were “known or projected,” in violation of election fraud law
  • The CBEC returned with “additional absentee ballots that were not counted and should not have been counted.”
  • The absentee ballots were not stored in a secure location
  • There was insufficient public notice of the meeting to certify election results

Multiple other election law violations and irregularities are also noted. The document states that the plaintiff was winning “and would have won the HD 25 race if these election law violations and irregularities had not occurred.”

The filing was signed by Harris and her attorney, Clinton W. Lancaster.