BY MELANIE BUCK –
A special meeting was called to order Thursday afternoon by the Polk County Election Commission to discuss findings of a dispute over 22 signatures received on the petition giving Jovan Thomas the right to run for Polk County Assessor during the November 2014 General Election. Arkansas law requires prospective candidates to obtain a certain number of signatures from registered voters in order to file for a public office.
The allegations, brought about by Thomas’ opponent, Phyllis Bell, were researched by Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison. Harrison’s findings were that each of the voters in question are, in fact, registered voters.
Those in attendance were Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison, Chairman of County Election Commission David Ray, Representing Republican Election Commissioner Rich Ray, Jovan Thomas, Prosecuting Attorney Andy Riner, Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jim Henderson, Sheriff Mike Godfrey, and Current Assessor June Wiles.
“The concern was that there was no voting record for these people. If they were a registered voter, they had not voted in some length of time and should have been removed from the voting book. But, Terri went through the list of voters and a lot of them have registered since then (2010-2012). They don’t have a voting record because there hasn’t been an election for them to vote in. We didn’t come across anyone who should have been removed from the list,” stated Ray. He added, “Based on what we have here, our ruling is that they are valid signatures and will count towards Thomas’ numbers.”