Voter Suppression in Arkansas: The Governor Needs To Act & Stu Soffer Needs To Resign

2020 Voter Suppression

152 people in Jefferson County were given the wrong ballots during Early Voting for the March 3rd primary because of a misprogrammed machine, and in turn denied their most basic of rights. This impacts the Democratic primary for Senate District 25 (Efrem Elliott and Sen. Stephannie Flowers) and Senate District 27 (Keidra Phillips-Burrell and Garry Smith).

UPDATE, 1:50pm: DPA Chairman Michael John Gray has sent a formal letter to the state Board of Election Commissioners, Governor Asa Hutchinson, and Secretary of State John Thurston calling for a full and formal review of the precincts in question (for 2016, 2018, and 2020), as well as every precinct in Arkansas to ensure free and fair elections.

10:40 a.m: “This could have been prevented. Election Commissioner Stu Soffer, who has admitted fault, should do the right thing and resign immediately. I fully expect Governor Asa Hutchinson and GOP Chair Doyle Webb to call on him to resign as well.” said Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Michael John Gray.

“Soffer has a long history of abusing the elections process and manipulating the election commission and its procedures in order to facilitate, whether intentionally or unintentionally, an agenda of systemic voter suppression and the denial of African-American’s full participation in the local voting process. Furthermore, his aggressive and physically threatening behaviors toward the sole African-American commissioner demonstrate an inability to serve all voters in Jefferson County due to racial bias.

“In recent years, Soffer has drawn a gun in the presence of Commissioner Ted Davis, and on October 29 a criminal complaint was filed with the Jefferson County prosecuting attorney’s office regarding yet another physical threat at a meeting. Soffer’s harassment of African-American election commissioners must be put to a stop. Now, his actions have directly denied people their right to cast a ballot in their own district.

“The Democratic Party of Arkansas stands with the voters of Jefferson County and all of our candidates.”