Scott County Can’t Legally Hold Special Election For 3 Candidates Left Off

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MANSFIELD (KFSM) – Scott County cannot legally hold a special election to fix an Election Day mistake that left three Mansfield City Council candidates off the ballot, according to the county prosecutor and a state election board.

Prosecutor Tom Tatum and the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners have notified the Scott County Election Commission it cannot legally hold a special election to fix the mistake that left Nathan Sterling, Christie Salmeron and Tyna Martin off of the Scott County portion of the ballots for an at-large city council slot in Mansfield in the Nov. 4 general election.

Mansfield lies on the county line between Scott and Sebastian counties. The ballot mistake in Scott County means only Sebastian County residents were able to vote for representation to the city council in that race. Both counties’ residents are supposed to be able to vote.

A special election may still be held if at least one of the candidates files a lawsuit against the county election commission and a judge rules a special election must take place. As of Monday afternoon, no one had filed such a lawsuit, county officials said.

Sterling won the portion of the race that includes Sebastian County, gathering 130 votes (63 percent) to Salmeron’s 55 (26 percent) and Martin’s 23 votes (11 percent), according to election results released by the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office.

Salmeron was the incumbent in that contest. All three candidates told 5NEWS they want a special election to take place to give Scott County residents the chance to vote in the race.

The election commission may certify the votes as early as Friday, making Sterling the official winner.

The discrepancy came to the attention of election officials when a candidate for another Mansfield alderman race, Sandi Bertaux, noticed the mistake while voting Tuesday. She took a photograph of the empty spot on the ballot she said should have been filled by the missing alderman race. (That photograph accompanies this story.)

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