Primary Election a Learning Tool for Some Counties

PARAGOULD, AR (KAIT) -- Some of Tuesday's Primary Elections in Region 8 had some rocky endings.  In Greene County, some minor problems late in the day led to a delay in the election results.

Greene County Election Commission Chair Paulette Parker said the day was going smoothly for the most part.  It was when it came time to close the polls that the real problems began.

"It came time to shut the machines down and we had a lot of calls because people kind of panic and want to hurry up and get their machines delivered so they can go home," said Parker.

Parker said several small problems on Tuesday night stacked on top of each other made for a late and frustrating night.

"We had to close a few machines after they got here.  I'm going to say from about 5 precincts we had to run the result tapes and it took a while to do that," said Parker.

Of the 59 machines used during the election about 15 of them were not closed correctly.  She said if the machines aren't closed then they can't get the election results off of them and missing just one step can mess that machine up until the problem is found and fixed.

When the polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Parker said it didn't take long for the room to fill with poll workers dropping their voting machines off.

Election officials say another problem they experienced is that many of the candidates, their families, and friends were in the lobby of the courthouse waiting for the results.  Parker said that having a packed house made getting the results calculated even harder.

Jan Griffith is a first time candidate and was one of many present on Tuesday night waiting for results.

"It was pretty stressful.  They came in pretty slow.  We thought they would be a little faster," said Griffith.

"We were double checking our work and we wanted to make sure we had everything right," said Parker.

To add to the chaos Parker says the county is short on manpower.  She says while they do have multiple very dedicated poll workers, they need more who can work after the voting is finished.

"We had a few people who had volunteered but all in all we need some people.  It would be great if we could get some younger people to help us.  It would be fantastic," said Parker

And Parker said even thought poll workers do get training they need more.  Training will start around October for the general election in November.

Now Greene County is gearing up for the runoff election on June 10th.  They said they have one constable race for that election.

If you would like to volunteer to be a poll worker or help out after the polls close you can call the Greene County Clerk's Office at 870-239-6311.