A member of the state Board of Election Commissioners filed but later withdrew a complaint Thursday against two Pulaski County election officials for failing to follow the board’s policy on how to handle absentee ballots under the state’s new voter ID law. The actions by Stuart Soffer of White Hall came a day after the the Pulaski County Election Commission and Pulaski County Clerk Larry Crane filed a lawsuit challenging the policy. Soffer said Thursday he withdrew his complaint after deciding, on reflection, that it might be inappropriate for him to file a complaint with a board of which he is a member. Instead, he said he will propose at an upcoming meeting that the board as a body file a complaint against Pulaski County Election Commission Chairman Leonard Boyle Sr. and member Chris Burks.
Soffer said he believes the commission violated state law by failing to treat as provisional ballots 76 absentee ballots it received without accompanying identification in Tuesday’s millage election for Pulaski Technical College. The Board of Election Commissioners adopted an emergency rule Feb. 28 stating that county election officials should treat such ballots as provisional ballots and give the voters until noon on the Monday after an election to submit ID and have their ballots counted.
Soffer said had directed his complaint against Boyle and Burks because they were the two members of the commission who voted not to follow the emergency rule. The complaint sought a $1,000 fine and referral of Burks, a lawyer, to the state Supreme Court’s Committee on Professional Conduct for a review of his actions.