Possible ballot fraud investigation

NE ARKANSAS (KAIT)- Prosecutor Scott Ellington is calling for an investigation into two ballot initiatives.

Ellington asked state police to investigate signatures for the proposal to increase the state's severance tax on natural gas. He says some Mississippi County residents' claim their signatures shouldn't be on the petition.

While in Crittenden and Craighead counties, Ellington wants the sheriffs to look into signatures for the proposed constitutional amendment allowing four casinos in Arkansas.

Ellington says he received several calls alleging fraudulent signatures on a the ballot initiatives. Ellington then wrote to Captain Henry La Mar, East Region Commander of the Arkansas State Police's Criminal Investigation Division, on July 30, asking that a criminal investigation be opened to determine whether there were any criminal violations. La Mar confirmed on August 3 that he was authorizing an Arkansas State Police investigation into the charges.

Ellignton says, "Several residents of Craighead and Crittenden County deny signing the petition, which allows casinos in the state. This is certainly questionable, and I have asked Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann and Crittenden County Sheriff Mike Allen to look into this matter."

Ellington took into consideration that approximately 56,000 of the 80,000 signatures statewide were kicked off the casino petition as being possibly fraudulent.

"It was an extreme amount of signatures statewide, nearly 70 percent, that were questionable and removed from the casino ballot initiative petitions," Ellington said. "If these allegations are true, the responsible person(s) will be held accountable."

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