Complaints Lodged About First Lady's Presence at Polling Site

OCTOBER 19, 2004 - Posted at 7:36 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A number of people casting ballots complained on the opening day of early voting in Arkansas when they found the wife of the Republican governor working a polling site.

Janet Huckabee, who previously made an unsuccessful bid for secretary of state, served as a poll worker at the Dunbar Recreation Center in Little Rock.

Mrs. Huckabee said she didn't pick Dunbar but was assigned by the Election Commission to the community center near downtown and the Governor's Mansion.  Mrs. Huckabee said she was within her rights as a citizen.

Precinct Election Judge Helen Burr said she believes Mrs. Huckabee's presence is a political act.  But, since neither she nor Governor Huckabee is running for office, she is not banned from working the polls.

Burr said Mrs. Huckabee once improperly asked a voter for identification, and another official said Mrs. Huckabee will have the rules more clearly explained to her.

Election Commission chairman Jerry Larkowski has asked than any complaints about Mrs. Huckabee be recorded in writing.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)