Ballot Printing Delays Across the State

October 7, 2004 -- Posted 5:00 p.m. CDT

Jonesboro, AR -- With the State Supreme Court's last minute decision to put Ralph Nader's name on the Arkansas ballot, County Clerk's across the state are scrambling to get the ballots printed for early and absentee voting.

Inside the Craighead County Clerk's office, tensions have been running high the past few weeks.

"We thought we did everything just so so, and we were proud that we had it done early," said Craighead County Clerk Nancy Nelms.

Maybe it was too early. The Secretary of State's office told county employees to put election prep work on hold, until getting news about Ralph Nader's ballot status.

"That worried us, thinking what are we going to do," said Nelms.

Now that Ralph Nader is on the ballot, and this matter's behind them, Nelms and her staff still have a tough road ahead.

"They got through in time and we're going to be all right," said Nelms.

Next Monday, this office will begin printing out 30,000 ballots for voters in the county, 500 of them are absentee ballots.

"We'll mail out the military first, because they have to go overseas," said Nelms.

Then there's the issue of possible election night chaos. During the primary, a computer glitch kept candidates and voters waiting late into the evening for election results. Nelms says the problem's been looked at, and they're hoping for the best.

"We're crossing fingers, toes, praying, everything," said Nelms.

Early voting begins on October 18th. The Craighead County Courthouse will be open Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm. Also the 2 Saturdays before the election from 1pm to 4pm.