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Judge's Names Left Off Washington County Ballots  (AR)

Christopher Spencer    The Morning News   05 May 2008

FAYETTEVILLE Candidates in five district judges' races were mistakenly left off 27,000 Washington County ballots.

The mistake was discovered Friday and a small batch of corrected ballots were printed in time for Monday's early voting for the May 20 primary, said John Logan Burrow, chair of the Washington County Election Commission.

The races are uncontested, but a candidate cannot be elected unless he or she receives at least one vote. As a result of Monday's voting, at least one ballot has been cast for each of the candidates running for a district judge's seat, resulting in the candidate's election.

On Monday, 73 residents cast early votes in the election. Four years ago, 866 residents cast votes during the two-week early voting period leading up to the May preferential primary, which included the presidential primary.

The commission opted not to reprint the ballots because it would cost an estimated $15,000, Burrow said.

Voters can use the county's electronic voting machines on election day if they wish to cast a vote in one of the five uncontested judicial races. There will be three types of ballots available, including Democratic, Republican or nonpartisan candidates.

Three Republican races are contested in Washington County in the upcoming election. This includes two justices of the peace races and one constable race.

May 20 is also the day voters will decide between nonpartisan judicial races. All Washington County voters can cast their vote in the contested State Court of Appeals, District 3, Position 2 election between Courtney Henry of Fayetteville and Ronald Williams of Springdale.

Primary candidates who run opposed for office must be listed on the ballot, said Natasha Naragon, spokesperson for the Arkansas Secretary of State's office. State law changed in 2003 to mandate uncontested elections receive notice on ballots.

Burrow said he consulted with an attorney for the Arkansas Secretary of State's office who confirmed the committee could decide not to reprint all of the ballots.

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