Attorney General opinion notes Sebastian County Election Commission error

An opinion from the Arkansas Attorney General will not change action already taken by the Sebastian County Election Commission, but its chairman said the commission would likely take a new vote to ensure it follows the letter of the law after closing and in some cases consolidating polling sites for the 2014 election.

At issue was whether or not the vote had to be unanimous and Attorney General Dustin McDaniel's opinion to Sebastian County Prosecuting Attorney Dan Shue was yes, each member of the three person commission should have voted in favor of the action.

"Generally speaking, election laws are mandatory if enforcement is sought before an election but merely directory — and failure to observe them is not cause to invalidate the election — if enforcement is sought after the election," McDaniel wrote.

Even though McDaniel did not invalidate the election, Sebastian County Election Commission Chairman Lee Webb said he would likely hold another vote on the closure of the polling locations in question, some of which were duplicates within the same precinct.

"What does that mean? I don't know, but I think what we're going to do is try to get (David) Damron to vote for it. Get it unanimous and just be done with it," he said.

Asked whether the high turnover in the election coordinator's office could have played a role in the commission not having a full understanding of the law, Webb noted that the vote was taken in late 2013 prior to former Election Coordinator Jerry Huff's retirement from the county.

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"I don't think so. Jerry read the law the same way we did," he noted.

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