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Arkansas' top court says voters can mark ballots in public

By The Associated Press

This article was published September 29, 2011 at 12:50 p.m.

The Arkansas Supreme Court says voters are not required to vote in private booths if they want to vote in public — but said election officials can’t force them to vote in a public area.

Justices on Thursday upheld a Pulaski County judge’s order that barred election officials from directing voters to a “community table” rather than a voting booth. The ruling came in a lawsuit by Keith Hamaker of Little Rock after he voted at a site in 2008 where people were marking their ballots at tables set up in front of the booths.

Hamaker appealed the ruling — saying the commission has no right to even allow voting in an area not defined by law. Justices said voters can mark their ballots outside the booth if they choose.

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