Special ES referendum may coincide with primary

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

BERRYVILLE -- The City of Eureka Springs can hold a special election to decide referendum issues on May 20, the same day voters cast ballots in the preferential primary and non-partisan judicial primary.

That was the decision of the Carroll County Election Commission when it met Friday in Berryville.

Eureka Springs City Clerk Mary Jean Sell attended the meeting to make the request.

Initially commissioners thought it would be too confusing to combine elections, but after consulting with a state election official, it was determined the process could be streamlined.

The referendum issues will be printed on the bottom of the three sets of ballots -- Democratic, Republican, and Non-Partisan.

Election Commissioner Levi Phillips said they can do it with the same number of ballots and the same number of poll workers -- thus saving the City of Eureka Springs the cost of hosting a special election.

The state picks up the tab for the primary elections, but Eureka Springs will be responsible for its share, Phillips said, adding, "We'll be fair on the cost split."

Referendums set for a vote include Ordinance 2051 regarding taxi and limousine services approved by the City Council July 23, and Ordinance 2047, demolition by neglect approved by the City Council on Aug. 13.

A third issue may make the ballot as well, said Sell. It is Ordinance 2068, establishing a process for removing elected officials. It passed on its first reading by the City Council on Nov. 5.

According to Sell, a council member wants to put it on the ballot for a vote of the people, and there are people in the community who have threatened to bring it to a referendum vote if the council passes it on all three readings.

Also during the election commission meeting, results from last week's bond election vote in Berryville were certified.

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