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Most can't vote in quiet North Little Rock School District election

4 board incumbents to be only voters by Cynthia Howell | October 24, 2021 at 4:07 a.m.
The four unopposed candidates for the North Little Rock School Board in the 2021 election — (top row, from left) Tracy Steele of Zone 2, Rochelle Redus of Zone 3, (bottom row, from left) Cindy Temple of Zone 4, and Natalie Wankum of Zone 5 — are shown in these undated file photos.

Where, oh where, is the North Little Rock School District's annual election on School Board candidates and the district's millage rate?

State law has enabled the district to scale back the annual event to the point that only the unopposed candidates for the four open seats -- four incumbents -- will be marking ballots in 2021, Melinda Lemons, the director of elections in Pulaski County, said Friday.

The North Little Rock School Board voted in August to petition the Pulaski County Election Commission to allow the district's election to be held "by candidate" because there were no contested school board races and no proposed change in the district's property tax rate.

"By candidate" means that the four candidates for the board -- Tracy Steele of Zone 2, Rochelle Redus of Zone 3, Cindy Temple of Zone 4, and Natalie Wankum of Zone 5 -- will meet with Pulaski County election officials by Nov. 2 election day to cast votes for themselves and on the district's 48.3-mill tax rate.

[SCHOOL ELECTIONS » Interactive chart not appearing above? Click here »]

There will be no early or absentee voting in advance of the Nov. 2 election, nor will polling places be open for district voting, Lemons said.

The election "by candidate" will save the North Little Rock district and other districts in the state the cost of the elections, which includes the cost of ballots and election workers for the annual event.

Election "by candidate" is permitted by Arkansas Code Annotated 7-11-107(b) and 6-14-102(c).

The 6-14-102(c) statute in particular states: "When the annual school election is not held at the same time as a preferential primary or general election, if no more than one (1) candidate for a school district director position presents a petition or notice as required by § 6-14-111 and if there are no other ballot issues to be submitted to school district electors for consideration, with the exception of the local tax rate if that rate is not being changed or restructured, the board of directors of a school district, by resolution, may request the county board of election commissioners to ... allow the candidate to cast a ballot for himself or herself at a designated time and location on election day or during the period that would otherwise be designated for early voting."

[RELATED: Full coverage of elections in Arkansas »]

Print Headline: Quiet school vote nears in NLRSD


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