Today's Paper Latest 🔵 Preps Live Coronavirus The Article Story ideas Weather Newsletters iPad Puzzles Archive Obits Core Values

Jacksonville special runoff election set for Tuesday

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | July 6, 2020 at 8:10 p.m.
Supporters of a candidate cavort across the street from a polling place in Little Rock's Hillcrest neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, March 3, 2020. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/John Sykes Jr.)

Voting will take place Tuesday at the Jacksonville Community Center for a special runoff election to determine a city council seat.

Polls will be open from from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Center, which is at 5 Municipal Drive. All precincts must vote at the location. There is one location due to efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Michael Dietz, Jeff Elmore and Pat Thomas sought the Jacksonville City Council Ward 1, Position 1 seat. The runoff is between Dietz and Elmore.

The term will expire Dec. 31, 2022. Jacksonville City Council members earn $7,089 annually.

The total number of votes cast during early voting, which ended Monday, is 385, according to the Pulaski County Election Commission.

Dietz and Elmore were separated by 12 votes in the June 9 election. Dietz, 62, collected 382 votes, or 40.7%, while Elmore, 49, earned 370, or about 39.5%. A third candidate, Pat Thomas, finished with 186 votes, or 19.8%.

Because no candidate finished with more than 50%, election officials scheduled a runoff election between the two top vote recipients.

The Jacksonville election is particularly interesting because it is the only election in Pulaski County, the state’s largest, since the coronavirus pandemic started.

It’s given election officials a chance to try out some measures — each of the voting areas were wiped down with a bleach-based cleaner after every vote cast or voters using individual pens, rather than sharing them, for paper ballots — that could be used at a larger election, such as the one coming up in November.

A Pulaski County proposal for November’s general election involves vast amounts of hand sanitizer, soap, gloves and masks, which would equip workers and voters at more than 110 polling places.

The draft plan incorporates approaches first used during the June 9 special election in Jacksonville.

The June 9 election in Jacksonville was set after the originally scheduled special election for April 14 was postponed because of the pandemic.

According to an ordinance that was approved by council members in February, the special election was necessary after the retirement of Councilman Kenny Elliott, which was effective Dec. 31.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled retired Councilman Kenny Elliott's name.


Sponsor Content