Incorrect ballots lead to early voting confusion in Marion County, Ark.
YELLVILLE, Ark. (KY3) - A mapping error led to early voting changes for voters in Marion County Precinct 7.
Believed to be a result of the 2020 census, Precinct 7 was not correctly marked as being inside the city limits of Bull Shoals, and ballots did not include municipal races. Earlier voters are voting on a Precinct 8 ballot consisting of the correct city races.
“That’s the one that does contain the municipal races that they need,” said Garett Schnoor of the Marion County Election Commission. “We’re able to do that. We got that approved from the state commission in writing that we got the okay to do this. They agreed with the company that furnishes us with the voting equipment and software. Everybody agreed that this was the thing to do to correct this situation in the meantime.”
The early voting period opened Monday. The clerk caught the error early Tuesday morning. Election officials say the error only affected a small number of voters.
“There were a small number of voters, I think eight, who voted previously to us finding out about this,” said Schnoor. “They’re being handled centrally in the county at our clerk’s office in city hall. They’ve got a plan to get those voters revoted and get them the proper ballot.”
The ballot swap is only a temporary fix. Members of the election commission are waiting for updated software to fix the problem, allowing voters in Bull Shoals to cast their vote on the correct ballot.
Some Bull Shoals residents like Jamie Peveto say races for city officials are the main issue that brings them to the polls.
“Definitely the city of Bull Shoals; I feel like we’re in Washington, D.C. I feel like everyone’s fighting, and it is uncalled for,” she said. “If we would focus more on the people of this town than fighting, I think I would definitely live in a better town for sure.”
Peveto was at the polls Thursday but said she was hesitant to cast her ballot when hearing about the situation over social media.
“Social media, everyone was commenting about it, and when they said they got it fixed. That’s when I decided to come and vote to make sure mine counted for sure,” she said.
The Marion County election commission has been working with officials at the state level to address the situation. It ensures that all votes are counted, including the eight voters who could not cast a vote in mayoral and city council races.
“I just hope that everybody comes and votes and our town can get back to normal,” said Peveto.
Schnoor says he anticipates the problem will be fixed entirely by Friday morning.
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