Scott Ellington — the Jonesboro Prosecutor and First District Democratic Congressional nominee — called for two law enforcement investigations into suspicions of fraudulent signatures on two separate ballot initiatives.
For weeks, there has been speculation and proof that collection methods used to gather signatures for a severance tax initiative and casino amendment proposal were full of questionable voter signatures.
The two measures both had a signature invalidation rate above 70% when reviewed by Secretary of State Mark Martin’s office.
On Thursday (Aug. 16), Ellington asked the Arkansas State Police to open a criminal investigation into the matter.
Ellington said he received several calls alleging fraudulent signatures on a ballot initiative to increase the state’s severance tax. Many of those were purported to be signatures of residents of Mississippi County, which is located within Ellington’s judicial district.
Certain residents of Mississippi County, whose signatures are reflected on the ballot initiative petition, have signed sworn affidavits alleging that they never signed any petition to get the issue on the ballot.
Ellington wrote to Captain Henry La Mar, East Region Commander of the Arkansas State Police’s Criminal Investigation Division, on July 30, 2012 asking that a criminal investigation be opened to determine whether any criminal violations had occurred.
La Mar confirmed in a written letter to Ellington on August 3 that he was authorizing an Arkansas State Police investigation into the matter.
Ellington also asked for an investigation into similar suspicious circumstances surrounding the Nancy Todd casino measure.
“Several residents of Craighead and Crittenden County deny signing the petition, which allows casinos in the state,” Ellington said. “This is certainly questionable, and I have asked Craighead County Sheriff Jack McCann and Crittenden County Sheriff Mike Allen to look into this matter.”