BENTONVILLE -- Election officials say the new vote centers functioned well for the March 1 primary in Benton County, and they will return for the Nov. 8 general election.
The Benton County Election Commission met Friday to certify the results of the primary and approve the testing of the county's electronic voting machines for the March 22 runoff. Shawn Holloway faces Paul Pillaro in a runoff for county sheriff.
Washington County official results
The Washington County Election Commission certified the primary election results Friday.
“The unofficial results are now official,” said Jennifer Price, election coordinator.
The only changes to unofficial numbers released immediately after the election March 1 were the addition of 25 provisional ballots and 19 absentee ballots, Price said. Those did not change the outcome of any race.
Source: Staff report
"The election, I felt, went exceptionally well," said Russ Anzalone, commission chairman. "We didn't have any problem from our standpoint. The only thing going on on election day was people coming in with address changes. We had something like 1,300 people with address changes."
Anzalone said he has spoken with the staff at the county clerk's office, which handles address changes, and the county will try to do some public service ads to try and reduce the number of voters who need to change on election day.
John Brown Jr., a member of the election commission, said the commission has not received any information on the state's plans to adopt new electronic voting machines. The state had a pilot program in place where new equipment was used in four counties for the primary.
Benton County acquired about 52 additional voting machines from Garland County, one of the four in the pilot program, which enabled Benton County to shift from the traditional polling places to the vote center. Brown said the commission would like to have more voting machines.
"I wish we had more equipment," Brown said. "I wish we had new equipment, but we haven't heard anything."
Both Benton and Washington counties used vote centers March 1, which allowed residents to vote anywhere in their county regardless of precinct.
Kim Dennison, the county's election coordinator, said Benton County has 312 electronic voting machines, including the 52 from Garland County. Dennison said the number of machines should be sufficient and the experience gained in the primary election should help. But Election Day voters in the general election may see longer lines.
"I'd like to have another 50," Dennison said. "I think it will handle it. But you may see lines forming at the vote centers if we have a bigger turnout. But the primary really gave us a good start as to where we can expect to see heavier traffic. We can adjust if we have to."
NW News on 03/12/2016