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Election commission verifies results, no race results change

by Matt Hutcheson | November 17, 2020 at 8:30 p.m.

Union County’s election commission met on Monday at the courthouse to finalize and verify the county’s election results.

Although Election Day and absentee votes were counted and accounted for on Nov. 3, election officials had until 15 days after the election to receive and verify military and provisional ballots.

Provisional ballots are ballots given to unregistered voters, those without identification or who otherwise did not qualify to vote at a polling station on Election Day. Absentee ballots that did not pass the verification process as of Election Day also became provisional ballots.

Those voters must then provide I.D. and prove their registration status to have their provisional ballot counted. Provisional ballots cast by voters who did not later prove their identity and registration were rejected.

Provisional ballots were a statistically insignificant number of the total ballots cast in Union County, with about 59 ballots of the 16,605 total being provisional.

Despite this, two races — Calion’s Ward 3, Position 1 council race and El Dorado’s W4P2 race — were close enough after Election Day to remain technically undecided until provisional ballot results were available.

The outcomes of both were, in the end, unaffected.

The Calion W3P1 race was separated by a single vote; challenger Kristi Purifoy received 90 and incumbent Joe Ann Williams received 89. Only one provisional vote was counted in Calion and the vote did not affect this race.

Dianne Hammond led Kensel Green for El Dorado’s W4P2 position following Election Day and provisional ballots only solidified this lead.

According to the commission’s official results, four provisional ballots in the ward went to Green and three went to Hammond. The final tally resulted in a result of 921 votes for Hammond and 861 for Green.

The official results compiled by the election commission also contained exact numbers for absentee, early and election day voting.

In the Presidential race, incumbent Donald Trump beat challenger Joe Biden in Union County, 10,478 to 5,584.

Biden, however, came out on top with absentee ballots, 801 to 543.

Early voting proved to be the most popular way to vote in the county during this election cycle and Trump came out on top among those voters, 5,398 to 3,088. He also won with Election Day voters, 4,505 to 1,670 and in provisional ballots, 32 to 25.

In total, 1,367 absentee ballots and 8,776 early ballots were cast in Union County. There were 6,462 votes cast on Election Day.

On Monday, election commissioners Janelle Williams, LaQuita Rainey and Cliff Wright collected the provisional ballots along with the documentation proving their veracity and a list of rejected ballots.

After separating the ballots by precinct, they submitted a final official vote tally to the Arkansas Secretary of State, putting an end to the general election process in Union County.


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