State police investigators are looking into allegations of voter fraud in the Democratic runoff for a vacant East Arkansas state House seat, and a state panel will decide this week whether to send poll watchers to monitor the special general election to fill the seat later this month.
Democrat Hudson Hallum faces Republican John Geelan — both are from Marion — in the July 12 special election to replace former state Rep. Fred Smith, a Democrat from Crawfordsville who resigned the District 54 House seat after just days in the Legislature in January after he was convicted of felony theft in Chicot County.
Democrat Kim Felker of Crawfordsville contends “there were a lot of irregularities” in the primary runoff she lost to Hallum. 2nd District Prosecutor Scott Ellington confirmed last week he asked state police to investigate Felker’s allegations, including that a man offered to provide absentee votes to her from two West Memphis wards in exchange for money or political favors.
The Crittenden County Election Commission also has written a letter to the prosecutor in support of Felker’s request for an investigation.
“I have forwarded her letter onto the state police,” Ellington said. “It’s a starting point.”
Tim Humphries, legal counsel for the state Board of Election Commissioners, said the board is to decide Wednesday whether to send people to monitor the general election in response to requests from Felker and Geelan, the GOP nominee, after the May 10 Democratic primary runoff.
In letters to the board, the two alleged there were not enough people working the polls during both the primary and runoff elections, that some polling sites did not open at the correct time, that more votes were cast at one polling place then there were registered voters, and that some polling sites did not have backup machines, which are required. Many of the problems occurred at the Turrel polling site, Geelan and Falker alleged in the letters.