Ross, Hoos in runoff for GOP sheriff nomination
Early voting began Tuesday in the runoff to determine whether Jim Ross or Alan Hoos will be the Republican nominee for Carroll County Sheriff.
There is also a runoff for constable in Polo township and for the Republican nomination for District 83 state representative.
“The District 83 runoff only affects the polling site of Osage Baptist Church,” Carroll County election coordinator Sherry Cochrane said. “It will affect five precincts at Osage.”
Early voting for the runoffs will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 12, through Friday, June 15, and Monday, June 18, at the Carroll County Clerk’s office at the Eastern District Courthouse in Berryville and the Western District Courthouse in Eureka Springs. Cochrane said there will be no Saturday voting.
The runoff election will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, at voters’ regular precincts.
In the May 22 primary, Ross and Hoos each won five of the 11 precincts where votes were cast. There were two precincts — Liberty and Dry Fork — where no one voted in the primary. Ross is the Berryville Police Department’s school resource officer and Hoos is a former chief deputy with the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office.
Ross received 1,330 votes (45.3 percent) in the primary, while Hoos received 1,011 votes (34.5 percent). Harrison Police Department patrolman Jack Gentry Jr., who was the Republican nominee in the 2016 general election but lost to incumbent Sheriff Randy Mayfield, finished third in this year’s primary with 594 votes (20.2 percent). Gentry won just one precinct — Dry Fork/Omega, where he received four of eight total votes.
The winner of the Ross/Hoos runoff will face Democrat Mark Bailey in the November general election. Bailey was unopposed in the primary. Mayfield, a Democrat, did not seek a third term.
Under a change in state law, the sheriff will serve a four-year term beginning in 2019.
In the Republican race for state representative from District 83, Donald Ragland of Marshall and Newton County Sheriff Keith Slape advanced to the runoff. In the primary, Ragland received 2,214 votes (40.3 percent) district-wide and Slape got 1,864 votes (33.9 percent). Timmy Reid of Marshall received 1,423 votes (25.9 percent) and did not make the runoff. In Carroll County, Ragland received 78 votes (45.9 percent), compared with 59 votes (34.7 percent) for Slape and 33 votes (19.4 percent) for Reid.
In the Republican race for constable of Polo Township, incumbent Jeffery B. Usrey received 88 votes (44.2 percent) in the primary while Nick Samac received 60 votes (30.2 percent) and Eric Griesenauer received 51 votes (25.6 percent). Usrey and Samac advanced to the runoff.
A total of 3,783 Carroll County voters cast ballots in the primary — 23.4 percent of the county’s 16,191 registered voters. The vast majority — 2,994 — voted in the Republican primary while 731 voted in the Democratic primary. The remaining 58 voters cast ballots only in the non-partisan judicial election and school election.
Voters who cast a Democratic ballot in the primary are not eligible to vote in the runoff. Registered voters who did not vote in the primary are eligible to cast ballots in the run0ff.
Cochrane said voting and tabulation for the school election and primary went smoothly this year thanks to the new voting machines from the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office.
“Everything went great in the primary. I was really happy with it,” she said. “That’s my dream for every election.”
Cochrane said there were a few glitches, but they were resolved quickly.
“They didn’t have anything to do with the equipment or anything. It was more concerning the school districts overlapping precincts,” she said. “We were able to take care of that really quickly so everyone could vote. I thought the primary went really well considering all the different changes.”
This was the first year the school elections were held in conjunction with the primary, she said. State law now requires school elections to be held at the same time as either the primary or general election.
Cochrane said the school elections will be held in September again next year since there will not be a primary or general election.
“It goes back to the way it was next year, and it needs to go back to that permanently,” she said. “Our counties are divided into voting precincts, but the school board lines do not follow those voting precincts.”
Cochrane continued, “A person may normally vote in their assigned polling site at St. Elizabeth’s in Eureka Springs, but their school district is actually Berryville. So if you have a regular school election, they would be voting in Berryville instead of Eureka Springs.”
She said this creates issues when assigning ballots to the right polling sites.
“Our county has fewer of those issues than most counties,” Cochrane said, “but it’s a big problem.”