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State election commission halts electronic signatures

Election day for the March primary is March 5th.
Election day for the March primary is March 5th.

The State Board of Election Commissioners met earlier today, with one of the agenda items including rules regarding voter registration. An emergency declaratory order was passed that says voters are not permitted to sign a voter registration application electronically, nor do county clerks have the authority to accept those applications if they have been signed electronically. The Order goes on to say that only certain registration agencies are designated to utilize a “computer process” as part of their voter registration application, which includes The Office of Driver Services and State Revenue Offices. The order also says that the Uniform Electronic Transaction Act is a statute that allows, but does not require, electronic signatures to be a valid legal signature. The board voted to pass the emergency order in less than 20 minutes.

Joyce Elliott is a former state senator and the executive director of Get Loud Arkansas, she says in a written statement that “Secretary of State John Thurston’s latest attempt to undermine our democracy through the state election commission is nothing short of a blatant power grab aimed at suppressing the fundamental right of every citizen to vote. This is not governance; this is tyrannical overreach cloaked in bureaucracy.”

Ozarks at Large also reached out to Chris Madison, the director of the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners; he did not respond in time for our reporting.

Ozarks at Large transcripts are created on a rush deadline by reporters. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of KUAF programming is the audio record.

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Matthew Moore is senior producer for Ozarks at Large.
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