LITTLE ROCK – Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office confirmed this morning that they have mistakenly deleted all digital and paper records of election filings for state senate and house of representatives.
The deletion occurred late Friday after staff from the Lt. Governor’s officer were called in to support in entering the filing forms.
“It is standard to dispose of all paper forms following entry into the server,” Mark Martin tells us. “The staff was on the final form from the first week of filing period when a computer error was made that caused all of the entries to be deleted from the server. In an attempt to recover those entries all of the backups were deleted as well. Congrats to District 71 candidate Ken Henderson for being that last and only filing that was not deleted.”
Filing period ends officially today, Monday March 3rd, at 12 pm. The Secretary of State’s office tells us that under normal circumstances candidates would be allowed to refile and still have their name on the official ballots. Due to an inclement weather policy in effect for the State Capitol however, no additional forms will be allowed.
“The election rules are quite clear, all filings must be in by noon,” Martin explains. “We are encouraging all candidates to campaign as write-in candidates, that is the only way we can allow their votes to be counted. Be sure to place extra emphasis when campaigning on proper spelling of your name, we cannot count write in votes that are not spelled properly.”
The shift toward write-in candidates is expected to result in record campaign spending numbers across the state, as popular incumbent candidates will need to advertise heavily to ensure votes. Candidates with common and short names, like representative Nate Bell, are expected to be a virtual lock for re-election.
“I have never been so glad to skip an election cycle,”Senate President Pro Tempore Michael Lamoureux tells us. “Absolutely no way I would have won this election. It took me 4 years just to get my wife to spell my last name correctly.”*photo via Arkansas Parks and Tourism