Commissioner: Why didn’t Pine Bluff use services?

Editor, the Commercial,

Adell Adams’ contention the “election commission should have been on this issue from the time of the 2010 census conclusion” is inaccurate. Speaking only for myself, let’s see if we can enlighten all. According to the Arkansas County Election Commissions Association handbook, “the primary function of a county election commissioner is to administer elections in that county in accordance with Arkansas law.” The “law” is the Arkansas Code Annotated, which defines responsibilities of elected officials, boards, commissions and municipal officials. The Code is divided into Titles whose name indicates area of responsibility.

Title 7 is named “Elections” and it addresses everything pertaining to having one, to include responsibilities of county boards of election commissioners. That is what we follow.

Title 14 is named “Local Government,” and covers the spectrum from county government to Water Improvement Districts. Subtitle 3 is Municipal Government, and its Subchapters clearly spell out a municipality’s responsibilities with regards to elections.

The Redus lawsuit cited two sections of Subchapter 3, while the Secretary of State’s response pointed out a prevailing section that contradicted the Redus claim. Pine Bluff is a member of the Arkansas Municipal League. The League offers “An inquiry answering service for local officials on any subject involving municipal government.” Membership and a “legal retainer” cost Pine Bluff tax payers $178,702 in 2012.

The election commission turns to the Secretary of State or the State Board for guidance when questions arise, and city officials have the Municipal League.

Perhaps those participating in finger pointing as a recreational sport should be asking why the city didn’t use the Municipal League service they paid so much for.

Stuart D. Soffer

Republican Election Commissioner

White Hall