State Board of Election Commissioners director submits resignation

Daniel Shults, director of the State Board of Elections, speaks during the election commissioners meeting in this 2021 file photo. Shults submitted his resignation Monday. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)
Daniel Shults, director of the State Board of Elections, speaks during the election commissioners meeting in this 2021 file photo. Shults submitted his resignation Monday. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staci Vandagriff)

Daniel Shults, director of the State Board of Election Commissioners, has submitted his resignation, effective Nov. 15, to take what he described as the next step in his career.

He said Tuesday he has been offered an attorney position at the state Department of Education.

Shults said in a letter dated Monday to State Board of Election Commissioners Chairman John Thurston that “It is with tremendous gratitude and a degree of sadness that I write in order to tender my resignation” as the director of the State Board of Election Commissioners.

He said he is proud to have participated in the implementation of photo identification requirements, the passage of numerous legislative agenda items and “the further development of both our complaint and training programs” while working for the board over the past seven years.

“The opportunity to serve as Director of the SBEC has been a privilege and the greatest honor of my professional career,” Shults wrote. “I will always be grateful for the opportunity to oversee and work to improve Arkansas’s election process as well as the trust the Board placed in me to fulfill its statutory responsibilities.

“While I believe the time has come to take the next step in my career, I look forward to watching the continued success of the SBEC in its mission to ensure every citizen of this great state enjoys elections, which are secure, accurate, and conducted in accordance with the requirements of the law,” Shults said in his letter to Thurston, who is the secretary of state.

In January 2019, the state Board of Election Commissioners unanimously voted to make Shults, who had served as commission’s counsel since 2016, its permanent director. Shults had served as interim director since Dec. 22, 2018. He replaced former director Heather McKim, who resigned to become the chief operations officer in then-Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s office. Prior to his hiring as the board’s director, the job posting was advertised for a week and the commission received 52 applications.

The state Board of Election Commissioners is scheduled to meet Wednesday afternoon and its agenda includes the appointment of an interim director and consideration of the hiring process for the director post.

Shults’ salary is $85,766 a year, according to the Arkansas Transparency website.