Poll workers cannot force voters to cast ballots in private if they choose to vote in the open, the state Supreme Court ruled today. The high court affirmed a Pulaski County Circuit Court ruling that barred election officials from directing voters to tables set up outside voting booths but that said state law does not require poll workers to force anyone to mark ballots within the confines of a booth.
Today’s decision came in an appeal of a lawsuit brought against the Pulaski County Election Commission by Keith Hamaker in July 2010. Hamaker said he witnessed voters seated at a table at a polling place in Little Rock when he went to vote in the 2008 general election. Hamaker’s lawsuit contended the practice he termed “community table voting” violated the public trust. He asked the circuit court to bar the election commission from allowing open voting.
Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce ordered the election commission to comply with state law requiring at least one voting booth for each 50 registered voters, and to train poll workers to direct voters to a voting booth and nowhere else to mark ballots.
But Pierce said the election commission was not required to force a voter to prepare his or her ballot in a voting booth if a voter elects to forego using a booth.
Full Article: Court: Voters can cast ballots in public | Arkansas News.