From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
In 2019 the Senate unanimously approved legislation to strengthen the integrity of the election process, by increasing the number of counties where post-election audits will be conducted.
Before 2019, post-election audits were conducted in only five counties. Now, they will be done in 15 counties.
Two of the counties have populations of more than 100,000 people.
To make sure that the audits are spread out geographically, five counties were picked from the First Congressional District, two from the Second Congressional District, one county from the Third Congressional District, and five counties from the Fourth Congressional District.
The state Board of Election Commissioners is responsible for conducting the audits.
The results won’t be ready until the spring, because of the thoroughness of the audits.
Auditors will take batches of ballots and count them by hand, then compare their results with the previously certified results.
In all, they will double check the accuracy of five percent of the total votes cast in the November election. Statewide 909,582 votes were cast in the general election.
The post-election audit will hand count and double check 45,479 ballots.
Crittenden County is one of the locations randomly chosen for the post-election audit.
The others are Pulaski, Sebastian, Crawford, Bradley, Ashley, Pike, Newton, Franklin, Searcy, Clay, Chicot, Stone, Perry and Cleburne counties.
Since I began my career in public service, I’ve worked with county clerks and county election commissioners. I know them to be hard working, honest and dedicated to running the most transparent, accurate and fair elections possible.
That’s why I’m confident the post-election audit will not uncover any irregularities.
Still, it’s important for the people to have the utmost confidence in the democratic process.
If people lose faith in the integrity of the election process, they will also lose faith in their elected officials.
While I’m on the topic of elections, I urge everyone to register and vote. Statewide, voter turnout this year was close to 51 percent.
Crittenden County, with only 33 percent, had the lowest voter turnout of the 75 counties in Arkansas.
Turnout in Cross County was just over 50 percent. In Lee County and Phillips County it was close to 56 percent.
It’s never too soon to start preparing for the next election. Make sure you register to vote and make sure you have a valid photo ID with your correct home address.
From the Capitol, it is always my great honor and sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.