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Clerk's office files complaint with state election commission

Phillips: ‘We found it and we stopped it’ by Caitlan Butler | May 13, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Union County Clerk Shannon Phillips has filed a formal complaint with the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners after finding red flags in some absentee ballot applications, she said Thursday.

Chris Madison, an attorney for the state election commission, declined to confirm whether an investigation into the complaint's contents had been launched. Phillips and Union County Election Commission Chair Cliff Wright both said an investigation was ongoing.

Phillips said that when her office began processing absentee ballot applications around April 22, they found some people's names on multiple ballot application forms, some with signatures that did not match. Between 140 and 150 applications were flagged, she said.

"We had people send in multiple applications for absentee ballots and the signatures did not match," she said. "But we stopped it from affecting the absentee ballots."

Phillips said voters who requested an absentee ballot were sent letters asking them to re-affirm their request. Those who do verify that they want an absentee ballot will receive one.

Per state law, all voters must verify their identity with a photo ID issued to them by either the State of Arkansas, the United States or an accredited post-secondary institution in Arkansas. Phillips said unless someone who requested a ballot under another person's name and received one also has their identification, they won't be able to vote under the false name.

"If their driver's license isn't in there, it wouldn't be counted by the election commission," Phillips said.

Madison said there are criminal penalties for voting under someone else's name.

Phillips said rumors have spread across social media of mass voter fraud, but she said any potential issue there might have been related to absentee voter fraud was caught before any votes were cast.

"A lot of people think we sent out a lot of ballots and people are voting illegally... We found it and we stopped it," she said. "Unless you did something wrong, there's no problem. It's just that kind of situation -- there were some attempts, but they're not going anywhere."

She said she hopes the rumors don't affect voter turnout.

"People fought for the right to vote -- women, Black people. It hasn't always been so easy. Absentee ballots are out there for a reason, for people who can't get up and out and vote, and we don't want to make that process harder," she said. "If you want to vote absentee, by all means, call us. We'll take care of you."

Print Headline: Clerk's office files complaint with state election commission

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