Attorney General of Arkansas — Opinion
Opinion Delivered April 29, 1993
WINSTON BRYANT, Attorney General
The Honorable George Hopkins State Senator 78 Harver Hills Malvern, Arkansas 72104
Dear Senator Hopkins:
This is in response to your request for an opinion on the following question:
Can a political party and/or a county election commission in a county that began the use of voting machines after 1984, without a vote of the people, use paper ballots in a special election for lieutenant governor rather than the voting machines?
It is my opinion that the answer to your question is “no.”
Subsection 7-5-508(a)(1987) of the Arkansas Code governs the custody and use of “voting machines.” It contains a sentence stating that: “[v]oting machines, when provided to any county or city, shall be used at any and all elections and primary elections, municipal, county, district, or state, held in that county, or any part thereof, designated for voting, registering, and counting votes.” In my opinion this language is broad enough to cover special elections and special primary elections. See
A.C.A. § 7-1-101(2) (Repl. 1991).
Thus, to the extent voting machines have been authorized and implemented by a county, neither the county election commission nor a political party can opt to use paper ballots instead of voting machines in a special election or special primary election.
I assume, however, that your question involves independent action of the election commission or the political party and does not inquire as to whether the local quorum court, through legislative action, could repeal the ordinance authorizing voting machines, and return to the use of paper ballots for all elections. Seein this regard A.C.A. § 7-5-501(e) (Supp. 1991).
The foregoing opinion, which I hereby approve, was prepared by Deputy Attorney General Elana C. Wills.
WINSTON BRYANT Attorney General