story by Julie Bagley
Scott Grigsby and Daniel Shewmaker appear headed to winning the race for NorthWest Arkansas Community College Zone 1 and Zone 2, respectively, based on early voting results.
With more than 25,000 early voters (22%) the results are as follows:
Scott Grigsby 2,653 (50%)
Jim Parsons 2,610 (49%)
Johnny Haney 1,055 (18%)
Daniel Shewmaker 2,878 (50%)
David Wilson 1,768 (31%)
More than 41,000 in Benton County cast early votes. Election commissioners have been counting absentee votes for more than two days.
Ballots could be slow to count in the county as they ran out of paper ballots. Officials said 16,000 were on hand with 1,000 in reserve. They believe voters used paper ballots to educate themselves on the issues before voting electronically.
Scott Grisby could not be reached for comment. Jim Parsons said he was disappointed in the early numbers.
“It seems the corporate money that comes in to support, and I’m out-spent 10 to 1,” he complained.
He said he wanted to create an organization where students and faculty could report potential problems.
“When there is a problem, they kill the messengers so people learn not to squawk, not to ask questions and learn to just go along,” Parsons alleged.
Daniel Shewmaker and Johnny Haney could not be reached for comment. David Wilson doesn’t know the outcome of his race until the morning.
“My plan was to wake-up tomorrow morning and see. I’m not sitting by waiting for the results,” he said.
District 5 and 8 are vacant and will be filled by Gov. Mike Beebe in January. The non-contested races that must still be elected are:
District 3: Mike Shupe (current board member)
District 4: Todd Schwartz
District 6: Ric Clifford (current board member)
District 7: Amy Forrest
District 9: Joe Spivey (current board member)
The new board will deal with transitioning a new president and financial issues. NWACC received fines for late tax payments between 2009 and 2011. It has also been under investigations by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and Office of Personal Management staff for giving unauthorized raises.
Trustees are elected for terms up to six years by the qualified electors of each particular NWACC district. The newly-elected members will take office on Jan. 1, 2013. They will draw for initial terms of 2, 4 and 6 years at their Annual Meeting in January. Each district has approximately 17,300 residents.