Over the weekend, Jefferson County Board of Elections Commissioner Stu Stoffer issued a written statement in response to the Pine Bluff Commercial's front page story, entitled "State Democratic Party calls for Soffer's resignation," published Saturday, Feb. 29.

Over the weekend, Jefferson County Board of Elections Commissioner Stu Stoffer issued a written statement in response to the Pine Bluff Commercial's front page story, entitled "State Democratic Party calls for Soffer's resignation," published Saturday, Feb. 29.

In his statement, transmitted via email, to the Pine Bluff Commercial, Soffer begins, stating "I am disappointed at not being afforded the opportunity to respond to the libelous defamatory and false allegations reported in the Pine Bluff Commercial’s February 29 story, State Democratic Party calls for Soffer to resign from election commission."

Soffer's statement goes on to state the following:

The part I am referring to is, "Gray went on to say that 'Soffer has a long history of abusing the elections process and manipulating the election commission and its procedures in order to facilitate, either intentionally or unintentionally, an agenda of systemic voter suppression and the denial of African-American’s full participation in the local voting process.'"

Soffer's statement continues, saying "My 'long history of systemic voter suppression and the denial of African-American’s full participation in the local voting process' as falsely claimed by the Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman in a press release has been vetted, investigated and in all cases discredited by State Board of Election Commissioners and Arkansas Ethics Commission investigations and in the courtroom in which your reporter was present.

"The Democrat Party of Arkansas held a press conference at the State Capitol prior to filing a lawsuit in 2016 contending I told an African-American voter at early voting to 'be quite and go home.' They claimed to have an affidavit from that voter. His claim conceivably could have happened because the County Clerk used an individual as an election official who the election commission would no longer use because of performance problems. Their attorney filed a lawsuit with the former County Clerk (who is now asking to be reelected as a Justice of the Peace) and the offended voter as plaintiffs.

"During the trail, debit card charges established I had lunch in North Little Rock and shopped at Little Rock Air Force Base on the day cited. The courthouse security video also verified I did not enter the building on that day the voter claimed I turned him away from voting. The voter did not appear in court. Now why would that be if the claim were true? The courthouse security video also showed when that voter and I were in in the courthouse later in the week, me escorting a TV reporter and him with Ted Davis, we were never closer than about 20’ and did not have any contact."

Soffer's statement goes on to say, "Democratic State Chairman Gray’s false allegation against me as reported in the Commercial is a Democratic Party tactic of making false, spurious and unproven allegations in an effort to discredit or harm the good name, reputation and standing in the community of those who stand in their way. You all saw it in the Supreme Court nomination process and in the phony impeachment hearings. In Jefferson County, the catalyst is my (and Chairman Mike Adam) stopping them from controlling the election commission and gaining the ability to steal elections.

"They use the race card because Mike and I go by the book, something that did not occur when the Democrats were the majority party and controlled the election commission. There was more to their press release, appropriately not reported, which if my attorney determines it meets the standard of libelous defamation I intend to sue the Democratic Party of Arkansas for $12 million dollars."

Soffer goes on to say the Commercial article also neglected to report the same or similar errors are not uncommon and have occurred throughout Arkansas.

"What occurred has nothing to do with race, or politics for that matter" he said, "There have been programming errors like this and worse since I became an election commissioner in 2003. Most were covered up and even hidden from the public without my knowledge. One error years past, was apparently so bad the (then) chairman fired the machine programmer the night of the election. I never learned what that was about.

"We caught errors made by others who laid out elections and fixed them before voting began. When I went into older elections to obtain precinct assignment data I found errors and we corrected them in laying out this election. We had one ballot error last cycle on a ballot across the river, easily and quickly fixed. Mistakes are not uncommon and quickly fixed. We are dealing with 171 precincts. I am not pleased this happened and we took extraordinary measures to make sure it did not. I also do not want to be laying out elections and training a highly qualified individual to take that task over."

Soffer concluded his statement, by saying "Additionally, I submit my singular efforts to involve Pine Bluff, Watson Chapel and Dollarway High School students in the election page program, not reported in the Commercial, validate the false allegation made by the Democratic Party of Arkansas."

"If my goal was to suppress African-American voters, why did I go out of my way to involve African-American students in the election process?" he said.