Polling Problems Reported in Jonesboro

November 2, 2004 -- Posted at: 4:55pm CDT

JONESBORO, AR - Outside many polling places across the city of Jonesboro, volunteers were energized about their candidates. In some cases, maybe a little too energized. Election workers said there was inappropriate "electioneering" going on some polling sites.

"We've had four or five that I'm aware of. I've actually seen three people I asked them to put a coat on," said Benton Smith, an Election Commissioner.

At the Parker Park Community Center one person got out of hand. A sheriff's deputy was called to the scene.

"I had asked him to leave earlier this morning. Apparently he came back, and actually tried to go into the polling site," added Smith.

There was another incident earlier in the day. A woman mistakenly went to the wrong polling place. She claimed an election worker at the YMCA shoved her into line, causing her to return home with a migraine headache. Craighead County Clerk Nancy Nelms said she has received the complaint and will investigate the alleged incident.

Nelms explained, "I didn't recognize the guy that the mother described to me, but I did describe it to one of the election commissioners and they were going to go over there and take care of it."

One of the most serious problems happened at the Huntington Community Building, which is in Precinct One. It's a polling place divided into two state representative races. Workers said at the start of the day about 130 ballots were given to voters. Of those, 50 to 60 voters received the incorrect ballot, causing them to cast their vote in the wrong state representative race. The candidates affected: Republican Billy Sue Hoggard and Democrat Dustin McDaniel.

Mark Ford, an election worker, added, "It was an oversight on my part. I accept responsibility for that. I apologize to anyone affected. Hopefully none of the races will be affected by that."

Billy Sue Hoggard, Republican District 75 State Representative candidate, commented, "I think that we need to make sure that this doesn't happen again."

Voters have until 7:30pm to cast their votes in Arkansas.