After a week of vetting absentee ballots for correct precinct assignment, the Garland County clerk’s office began mailing them out Monday to around 400 voters who applied to vote absentee in the Nov. 8 general election, County Clerk Sarah Smith said. Smith said the Garland County Election Commission initially sent her office 19 ballot styles. After a week of cross-checking precincts with the list of races assigned to each precinct, it was determined 23 were needed. One of the additional versions came after the discovery of a precinct in Justice of the Peace District 5 that didn’t include the District 6 city director’s race. The election commission had initially assigned that location a generic ballot that doesn’t include contested local races. Smith said her office didn’t double-check the precinct assignments for absentee ballots mailed for the March 1 preferential primaries and nonpartisan judicial elections, causing about 70 voters to receive incorrect ballots. On Monday, the labels with bar codes identifying voters’ names, addresses, precincts and ballot styles were ready to be placed on the envelopes the clerk’s office uses to mail absentee ballots.
The clerk’s office received the ballots from the election commission Sept. 26, four days after the Sept. 22 statutory deadline for election commissions to get absentee ballots to county clerks. The state’s election code requires county clerks to have mailed absentee ballots on Sept. 23, which was 46 days before the election.
… Election Commissioner Dennis Bosch said last week that the election commission discovered a few days before the Sept. 22 deadline that the ballots were too long for the local printer who usually prints the county’s ballots. They had to be sent to Little Rock, delaying their arrival at the county clerk’s office.
Bosch said multiple revisions and several weeks of coordination between the election commission and the state’s election services contractor, Election Systems & Software (ES&S), were needed to get the ballots ready for printing. The final version ES&S provided had ballot styles for all of the county’s 185 precinct parts. The election commission had to condense those into the 19 ballot styles it initially sent the county clerk’s office, causing further delay in getting the ballots delivered.
Full Article: Hot Springs Sentinel Record – Absentee ballots go out late.