Arkansas Senate Candidate Jake Bequette Alleges Election Officials' Purposely Misidentified Him On Ballot | Abbi Clifton
Veteran and former NFL player turned senate candidate alleges election officials engaged in election fraud.
Republican Arkansas senate candidate Jake Bequette tweeted an audio clip of a phone call showing that state election officials knew for two weeks that his name was spelled wrong on thousands of ballots and failed to inform Bequette’s campaign or correct the error.
Bequette further stated on Twitter that state election officials were unable to correct the spelling because a company in Omaha, Nebraska controls Arkansas’ voting machines.
The error is reportedly only on Craighead and Phillips County ballots, where Bequette’s first name shows up on the ballot as “Jack” Bequette instead of Jake. The city of Jonesboro is located in Craighead County and is one of the largest cities in Arkansas with a population of over 78,500 people.
Bequette’s campaign first became aware of the issue when voters reached out about the spelling error during early voting, according to KAIT8.
Bequette said that officials did not notify him, the voting public, or the polling locations about the error and that they then tried to “sweep it under the rug,” KATV reported.
The campaign filed a lawsuit with the Pulaski County Circuit Court against Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston, Arkansas State of Election Commissioners, and Craighead County Election Commissioners.
The campaign later added Phillips County Election officials to the suit and released a new statement announcing that his team had filed FOIA requests to “get to the bottom of what these election officials knew and when they knew it.”
The issue may be in more counties across Arkansas and not just in Craighead and Phillips Counties, according to the campaign’s statement.
Craighead County election officials said the name was correct on the paper ballot submitted to the Secretary of State’s office but the voting machines were later programmed with the incorrect spelling. The Secretary of State John Thurston said the county could reprogram the machines to correct the error, according to the campaign’s lawsuit.
The Secretary of State stated that after the candidate filing period, the Secretary of State’s office sends a certified list of candidates to all the counties and Bequette’s name was correct on that certification, according to Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
Thurston further said that his office was notified of the error on April 28. Thurston’s spokesman said the office advised Craighead County to correct the misspelling as there was still enough time.
Thurston’s office stated that they “also alerted the county that Arkansas code requires a county to hold a public meeting to explain the error, give a solution to the error, or explain why the error can’t be fixed. The county failed to comply in both cases,” Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.
Craighead County election officials did not respond to request for comment from KAIT8 and officials said they would not comment on camera but would publish a statement later. However, the officials never published that statement.
“John Boozman and the Arkansas political establishment couldn’t beat me with endorsements, they couldn’t beat me with millions of dollars in false attack ads, and they wouldn’t even try to beat me on the debate stage, so now they are trying to beat my by stealing this election. Election integrity is a critical issue in our state and in our country, and Arkansans deserve a senator that will bring this issue to the forefront,” the Bequette campaign’s statement on the lawsuit said.
“This is not just about my campaign and this election— I don’t want this to happen to any candidate in Arkansas ever again. We will get to the bottom of this,” the statement said.
The campaign calls on Boozman “who claims to care about election integrity,” to join Bequette “in demanding a full investigation into this election fraud,” the statement concludes.
Bequette is running in the May 24 Republican primary against incumbent Senator John Boozman, Heath Loftis, and Jan Morgan. Boozman received Former President Trump’s endorsement, prior to Bequette entering the race.
The first public hearing on Beckett’s case is May 13 at 9 a.m. CT at Pulaski County Circuit Court.
[updated to add information about major cities impacted by the error.]
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