Sworn election workers in Pulaski County spent Thursday reviewing absentee ballots that voting machines were unable to read and manually entering the results in order for them to be tabulated.
The winners of the presidential, U.S. Senate and 2nd Congressional District contests at the top of the ballot in Tuesday's general election in Arkansas were no longer in doubt two days later.
However, the ballots that have yet to be tabulated -- including the remakes that were being processed Thursday -- in the state's most populous county have the potential to influence the winner in a pair of close races for the state House of Representatives.
Slightly more than 100 votes separated the Republican incumbent from the Democratic challenger in each of the two House races, according to unofficial returns available Thursday.
At the West Markham Street offices of the Pulaski County Election Commission, two-person teams were each seated by an ExpressVote machine. One worker read the voter's choices marked on the original ballot, and the other the selections on the electronic voting monitor.
Reasons why ballots might need to be remade include errant marks, marks such as checks or an "X" instead of a filled-in oval as well as smudges, any of which might cause the election machine to reject a ballot.
It was not immediately clear precisely how many unreadable absentee ballots had been processed and their selections entered by the time workers left at 5 p.m. Thursday.
A county election official asked workers to return at 8 this morning to continue their work. Results from the remade ballots will be added to the unofficial tally from the county, he said.
Pulaski County Election Commissioner Kristi Stahr wrote on Twitter just after 4 p.m. Thursday that election workers had processed about 500 ballot remakes out of approximately 1,200 ballots to be remade.
In the District 32 House race, incumbent Rep. Jim Sorvillo, R-Little Rock, was ahead of Democrat Ashley Hudson by 107 votes, 8,182 to 8,075, according to unofficial results Thursday evening from the secretary of state's office.
Rep. Carlton Wing, R-North Little Rock, was leading Democratic opponent Matthew Stallings in the race for District 38 by 108 votes, 6,925 to 6,817.
The margins in the two races had not changed between Wednesday and Thursday evening.
Unofficial returns showed 16,257 ballots were cast in the District 32 race and 13,742 in the District 38 race.
In the closely watched 2nd Congressional District contest between U.S. Rep. French Hill, a Republican, and state Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock, the incumbent prevailed with more than 55% of the vote, 182,248 to Elliott's 145,255, according to unofficial returns.
But during her concession speech Wednesday, Elliott bristled at what she described as a decision by Pulaski County election officials to delay counting absentee ballots only after polls had closed Tuesday evening.
"It is not lost on me that this happened in a heavily Democratic county, with election rules controlled by the minority party," Elliott said. "Why is Pulaski County the only place this is happening in this district? Why has partisanship taken over our election officials to destroy the trust in our democracy?"