Lonoke County Election commissioner Jerry Shepard said a police report has been filed for missing election commission items during its July 13 meeting.
Among those items is a laptop, hard drive tower, computer keyboard, printer and election books for 2012 and 2014.
“The thing I’m most concerned about is the records,” Shepard said.
In a letter from County Clerk Dawn Porterfield to the election commissioners, Porterfield said she and staff have attempted to contact all commissioners from 2009 to 2014. Of those commissioners contacted, Lucas Minton, Jimmy Taylor, and Richard Kyzer did not return calls or letters sent, according to the letter. The remaining commissioners gave statements of either the items last known locations or having no knowledge of the items.
According to Shepard, the Sheriff’s department is currently trying to determine if the case will be handled in house or turned over to the state police.
In other business, a ballot draw was held earlier that day for the 2017 school board election. Four of the five races in the county were uncontested. For the position 3 in Cabot, Mark Russell was for the first and Marvin Jones was drawn for second. According to Shepard the commission is currently trying to determine if the county must hold an election county wide for only one race or if it may open a polling site at the single location. By unanimous vote, the commission approved to follow the law as referenced to polling sites.
Also during the meeting, a letter from Cabot Mayor Bill Cypert was read regarding questions about the unpaid election costs owed for election costs.
“He has received reams of paperwork from us and still hasn’t paid,” Shepard said.
According to Shepard, Cabot has not paid since 2010. Due to the statute of limitations, Cabot was not billed for the unpaid portion of the 2012 election but was billed for the 2014 general election as ordered by the State Board of Election Commissioners as well as the most recent 2016 general election. Shepard said the commission was compassionate in allowing Cabot until October to pay the 2014 bill, but does not understand why the 2016 bill has yet to be paid.
In Cypert’s letter, he questioned how the county knows what is owed by the city if the records from 2014 are included in the police report of items missing from the election commission. Therefore the commission unanimously voted to respond to Cypert’s letter with information requested, including the statement that while the backup records are missing, the electronic records are still kept in an electronic database. The letter will also include a demand for payment of the 2016 election and a deadline of Oct. 1, 2017 for payment of the 2014 election.