2 Things to Know Today: November 18


District 56 Recount Requested

Republican candidate Trent Minner requested a hand recount of ballots in the House District 56 race in the Conway area. He is trailing incument Rep. Steve Magie by 10 votes with certified results due to the state by next Wednesday, Nov. 23.

Minner released the following statement on Twitter:

“I have faith in the integrity of our elections and in those who worked so hard to oversee and facilitate this election, but with such narrow margins, a hand recount in this situation is an appropriate step we intend to take.”

He will responsible for the recount costs unless the recount changes the outcome of the election. 


So, what's the law on recounts?

Arkansas code § 7-5-319 says:

(1) Any candidate voted for who may be dissatisfied with the returns from any precinct shall have a recount of the votes cast therein upon the candidate’s presenting the county board of election commissioners with a petition requesting the recount.

(2) When the number of outstanding absentee ballots of overseas voters is not sufficient to change the results of the election, the candidate must present the petition no later than two (2) days after the county board of election commissioners declares preliminary and unofficial results of the election, including a statement of the number of outstanding absentee ballots of overseas voters.

(2) The county board of election commissioners either may:

     (A) Manually sum the total votes for each candidate involved in the recount that is printed on the voter-verified paper audit trail; or

     (B) Count by hand the votes for each candidate involved in the recount as shown on the voter-verified paper audit trail.


The costs for any recount must be borne by the candidate petitioning for it, and payment of the costs must be made to the county board of election commissioners prior to the recount in an amount determined by the county board of election commissioners.

    (2) In the event that the outcome of the election is altered by recount, the costs of the recount shall be refunded to the candidate who petitioned for the recount.

(h) The costs of any recount shall be based on the actual costs incurred to conduct the recount, but in no instance shall the amount charged to conduct a recount exceed the rate of twenty-five cents (25¢) per vote cast in the precincts where the recount is requested or a total of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for the entire county, whichever is less.

(i) Within forty-eight (48) hours after a petition for recount is filed, the county board of election commissioners shall notify all candidates whose election could be affected by the outcome of the recount.


Still no results from Phillips County

Phillips County still has yet to report a single vote to the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office. They’re required by law to provide at least some results on election night, 10 days ago.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office: “Their election coordinator has stopped communicating with us. We have tried to assist and even had someone from the State Board of Election Commissioners go over to assist.” Read excellent reporting from ADG here.

It sounds as if they are providing some results locally to newspapers and to candidates but aren’t providing information to the Secretary of State, the one place they are legally required to provide results.

Representative Aaron Pilkington sent a letter to the Phillips County Judge threatening legislative investigation.


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