Election Ballot Error Found, But Officials Refuse To Fix It

(FiveNation.com)- On Tuesday, Republican Senate candidate Jake Bequette filed a lawsuit after two Arkansas counties misspelled his first name on their ballots for the upcoming Republican primary election.

Lawyers representing Bequette, who is challenging Republican Senator John Boozman, asked a judge to order election officials to correct the ballots in Craighead County which listed his first name as “Jack” instead of “Jake.” An attorney representing Bequette said he also planned to add Phillips County to the suit. Phillips County also listed Bequette’s first name as “Jack.”

Early voting began on May 9 for the May 24 Arkansas primary in which three Republicans, Bequette, activist Jan Morgan, and pastor Heath Loftis, are challenging Senator Boozman.

In a statement, Jake Bequette called the typo on the ballots “disgusting” and demanded the error be corrected “immediately.”

In the suit, Bequette’s lawyers also asked the judge to order state election officials to “provide uniform statewide notice to all voters” alerting them to the error.

Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston, whose office oversees elections, said Bequette’s name was correct on the certified list of candidates sent to each county. Thurston said Craighead County made the error during its preparation of the ballot.

Thurston also said his office contacted Craighead County on April 28 to alert them of the typo and advised them to correct it “as there was still ample time.” His office also reminded Craighead County that Arkansas code requires that the county hold a public meeting to “explain the error, give a solution to the error, or explain why the error can’t be fixed.” But, Thurston said, Craighead County failed to comply with either request.

The error on the Phillips County ballot was not discovered by the Secretary of State’s office until last Friday, but Phillips County is “working to rectify the situation.”

Phillips County Election Commission chair, Harold Boals, claimed that the mistake was made by the state, a claim the Secretary of State disputes.