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Judge allows suit over ballot error misidentifying U.S. Senate candidate Jake Bequette to proceed, declines to grant relief

by Rachel Herzog | May 13, 2022 at 11:48 a.m.
FILE - Former NFL football player Jake Bequette speaks to reporters at the Arkansas state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022, after filing paperwork to run for the U.S. Senate. Bequette is challenging incumbent GOP Sen. John Boozman in the state's May primary. On Tuesday, May 10, 2022, Bequette filed a lawsuit after two counties incorrectly listed his first name as “Jack" on their ballots for this month's Republican primary election, with early voting already underway. (AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo, File)

A judge declined to grant relief in U.S. Senate candidate Jake Bequette’s lawsuit over an error that misidentified him as "Jack" Bequette on ballots in two Arkansas counties while leaving the case open Friday.

Pulaski County Circuit Judge Mackie Pierce said it was troubling that the misspelling on ballots in Craighead and Phillips counties was not corrected before voting got underway, but given that Craighead County corrected the error Thursday and Phillips County was working to correct it, he considered the issue moot.

“I don’t know what else this court could offer other than what’s been done,” Pierce said.

Bequette's attorney, Scott Poynter, had asked the judge to order that notice be sent to voters who received absentee ballots, but Pierce said that would create further confusion.

Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston, the State Board of Election Commissioners, and the election commissions in both counties are the defendants in the suit. 

Pierce declined a motion from Assistant Attorney General Kesia Morrison to dismiss the case.

Bequette is seeking to oust U.S. Sen. John Boozman in the Republican primary on May 24. Early voting for the primary began May 9.

After Friday's hearing, Bequette said his team would continue serving process to all relevant parties in the case.

"This is not the end. This is just the beginning."

Read Saturday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for the full story.

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