BY MELANIE BUCK –
Some voters in the state of Arkansas are being mistakenly removed from voter registration lists across the state due to an error in the Secretary of State’s office. Each year, information is gathered to determine whether each voter is eligible or not based on felony convictions. The information was previously gathered from state agency, Arkansas Community Correction. However, after reviewing how data is gathered, it was determined that constitutionally, the information should be received from the Arkansas Crime Information Center (ACIC).
Complying to the constitution of the state, information was received from ACIC, only to later discover that their records do not state which felons have regained their voting rights. In fact, when ACIC sent their records, they sent a list of nearly 197,000 names, which included anyone who has ever been convicted of a felony in the state of Arkansas. The Arkansas Community Correction has the information on which felons have regained their right to vote, but ACIC does not have that information.
Polk County was sent a list of 39 names to be removed from voter registration. Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison and her staff mailed letters to each of them stating that if you’ve been notified and believe there has been an error, to contact the County Clerk’s office. Several of the recipients did call and claim errors. Harrison and her staff, along with help from the Circuit Clerk’s office, researched each of those names to determine eligibility. “Some of them were complete errors and others had satisfied their requirements and now have the right to vote,” said Harrison. She also said that of the 39 names, 25 of those have been cleared and only 14 have been removed from voter’s registration lists.