An Ashley County Election Commission member said Tuesday that a new law caused confusion when calculating unofficial election results, and may have resulted in the premature declaration of victory for some candidates.
Ashley County Election Commissioner Terry McDermott said that it now looks like there will be a runoff in the Crossett mayor’s race and in one city council race.
“It’s still unofficial," he said. "We have ten days to get it certified.”
If the runoff is required in the mayor’s race, it will between Valerie Martin, who led the polls, and incumbent Mayor Scott McCormick.
McDermott reported that another election commissioner, Mike Smith, had spoken with the state election commission Wednesday morning and learned that a new election law may have been misinterpreted, causing miscalculations.
“It’s a new law and it’s a confusing law,” McDermott said.
According to the Arkansas Code 7-5-106, "The following procedure will govern if there are more than two candidates for election to any municipal office at any general election held in this state in which no candidate for the municipal office receives either: A majority of the votes cast; or a plurality of forty percent of the votes cast.
"A candidate who receives a plurality of forty percent of the votes cast must obtain at least twenty percent more of the votes cast than the second-place candidate for the municipal office to avoid a runoff general election against the second-place candidate."
When officials tabulated the unofficial results Tuesday night, they apparently did not calculate the 20 percent correctly.
“It looks like there will be a run off in the Crossett mayor’s race and between Dale Martinie and Michael Sims,” McDermott said.