Jefferson County election officials said Wednesday that a combination of new poll workers and a longer than normal ballot contributed to delays in reporting results of the preferential political party primaries and judicial general election Tuesday night.

Jefferson County election officials said Wednesday that a combination of new poll workers and a longer than normal ballot contributed to delays in reporting results of the preferential political party primaries and judicial general election Tuesday night.


"It took about an hour longer than usual," Stu Soffer, secretary of the Jefferson County Board of Election Commissioners, said. "With the longer ballot, it took longer to extract the information from the machines and longer to print the report."


Another factor that figured in the delay was that a voting machine located at South Pinewood Baptist Church at 8869 Highway 79 south jammed up when poll workers were trying to close it, and a technician had to be sent to the church to close the machine and retrieve the data, he said.


"We had a lot of new people, a lot of new judges and for the most part they performed well," Soffer said.


Also at that church, two experienced poll workers neglected to follow instructions and did not record which primary election ballot 69 voters selected before the poll judge caught their oversight, commission Chairman Mike Adam said. He said both attended mandatory state poll worker training conducted by the election commission in which seven slides covered the subject matter repetitively


"All of our other election clerks understood the procedure which received significant emphasis, so we are at a loss why these two didn’t," Adam said.


Legal advice is being sought from Prosecuting Attorney Kyle Hunter on how to handle these voters for the March 22 runoff election at this location. All candidates involved will receive written notification and afforded an opportunity to provide input so a satisfactory resolution within the bounds of the law can be reached.


At Thursday’s meeting to review provisional ballots, the election commission will also discuss referring the allegedly inappropriate campaigning actions of Pine Bluff mayoral candidate Theodis "Ted" Davis to the prosecutor for examination, Adam said. Davis was said to have interfered with voters entering the University of Arkansas Pine Bluff Pennymon Room Gate 2 Stadium polling location and became abusive when asked to stop.


The Arkansas Code lists interfering with voters trying to vote as a felony offense.


Davis was also kicked out of the Arkansas River Educational Services Cooperative (the old Sears building) polling site, Soffer said. He said all county, township and municipal candidates in contested races were mailed a letter explaining voting law changes and prohibitions on their activities.


The commission will meet Thursday at 6 p.m. at the election commission office at 123 Main St.


The agenda will incude:


* Determine eligibility of provisional and absentee ballots


* Discuss violations of election law by certain persons during Primary Election


* Offer Ivotronic orientation to runoff candidates


* Other business that may come before the Commission.