Stone county special election open to all

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

MOUNTAIN VIEW, AR (KAIT) - Since the May primary, the Stone County Democratic Sheriff's race has been an item of controversy in the county.

The vote was finally certified as a tie in June, and the governor was petitioned to allow a special election. Most assumed the election would be for Democrat voters only. But, now a loophole has opened up the special election to all registered voters.

James Elphinstone spoke to me outside of the polling center across from the county court house. He says "It's a special election not a run off and so it's good that each individual has an opportunity to cast a vote."

The whole point of this special election is to break the tie between Stone County Sheriff Todd Hudspeth and challenger Lance Bonds to determine who will face Republican William Aiken in November.

If this is a Democratic Election, how did is it open to everybody? Election Chairman Bob Turner explains: "That was something that was decided when the governor called for a special election. That kinda decided that everyone would get to vote. "

It has to be a special election because the runoff was certified as a tie. It basically starts the election process over again with no specific code saying who can or can not vote.

"I don't think there's any legal means at the present time to change that. It's under a special election, and everyone can vote, and that's what the law says, and that's what we'll have to do." says Turner.

So, what are the voters saying? Well again, I'm getting a mixed reaction. Some say it's a good thing, and some say it's a bad thing.

Carla Hill said she wasn't interested in voting in the special election, but she would wait till the fall to vote for the Republican candidate.

"People really need to really realize that there is gonna be another vote in November, and there will be a Republican running."

Elphinstone says, "This election has determined that every vote counts. And, I thank God that I have the opportunity to cast a vote, and I think everybody should exercise that privilege."

Mr. Elphinstone said this small special election could have a big influence on the Fall election.

"I'm not just sure how it's going to go in the fall, but I believe it will be a good turnout, and people will be prompted to cast their vote one way or another."

According to election officials, early voting has been pretty steady so far with over a hundred voting on Monday.

The scheduled election is next Tuesday with all the polling locations open.

Whatever the outcome, one thing is clear. The legislature will need to take a look at voting laws and make some clarifications the next time they are in session.

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