Is Alderman Candidate Eligible To Run?

Posted on October 15, 2006 at 9:00 PM CDT

JONESBORO, AR - There are 23 days and counting until election day. In the ward 2, position 1 race for Jonesboro City Council there are three candidates. But some say one of the candidates, Reggie ''Ray'' Prunty isn't eligible. They say, he doesn't live where he says he lives. So, we investigated.

"I live at 401 2nd street." says Reggie Prunty.

This is 401 2nd street in Jonesboro where Reggie Prunty says he lives. He also says he lives here at 4571 Highway 141 North. Outside the city limits.

"We live in both places. A month here a month there."

According to the rules councilmen must live in the ward they represent. The home out in the county doesn't qualify.

"My primary place of residence is where my voter registration is. Legally I am at 401 2nd."

The real question comes from what qualifies as ''primary residence''. The rules use the word ''reside''. Prunty says he resides in both places.

There aren't any answers when you do the paperwork.

In his homestead tax credit, he declares the county home as his principal place of residence. Look him up in the phone book, and there's the county property again. But his mailing address and his voting record place him back in the ward he plans to represent, at 401 2nd street.

"We had no reason to doubt his residency. People are allowed to have more than one." says Benton Smith.

Benton Smith is on the three-person Craighead County Election Commission. He says the commission has taken two phone calls raising concerns about Prunty's eligibility. And he understands the reasons for the questions.

"It can be argued several different ways. The Arkansas Supreme Court says its by a case-by-case factor."

And in this case, Reggie ''Ray'' Prunty is on the ballot and will stay on the ballot unless someone files a civil suit protesting his eligibility.

Prunty is running against Fred Bowers and Jim Hargis for that seat.