By Brad Friedman on 6/7/2010, 9:37pm PT  

I've been working on another story, of late, so haven't been able to cover the precinct place mess in Garland County, AR which emerged over the weekend. (What's the matter with Arkansas when it comes to elections?! See my exclusive on Monroe County from late last week, for just one possible answer, in case you're wondering). Also, I was happy to see the issue getting plenty of coverage from sites like DailyKos and MoveOn, etc., so didn't feel I was either needed, or had anything additional to add at the moment.

But, as the bizarre decision/behavior by the Garland County Election Commissioner Charles Tapp could come into play tomorrow, depending on the reported results of the hotly contested Democratic U.S. Senate primary run-off election between incumbent Sen. Blanche Lincoln and Lt. Gov. Bill Halter --- and as so many have written in to make sure I knew about the situation (I do) --- it seems worth at least flagging here for now at The BRAD BLOG, to make sure that you know about it.

For that, allow me to defer to Joyce McCloy's Voting News coverage of the coverage today...

Garland County Arkansas voters were turned away from the polls Saturday. With only 2 polling places instead of the usual 40, with 76,000 registered voters, a hotly contested primary runoff & other races, officials promised to open an extra polling place on Saturday. The polling place was not opened & voters were turned away...

AR: Hundreds of voters turned away from the polls:

Two hundred voters were turned away from the polls Saturday in Garland County after the election commission says it made a mistake by telling voters they could vote

AR: Making Sense of the Closed Polls in Arkansas * (text, video interviews & photos):

So, after having promised the location would be open and the statement being printed in the local newspaper, they did not open the polling location.

AR: Garland County Election Controversy: Voters Turned Away * (video avail)

So, he looked into opening up the location here for an extra day--which would have been Saturday.

At first, he said an attorney with the Secretary of State's office advised him he could do it, so he made the announcement.

But he later came across an Arkansas law that requires him to give at least 5 days notice to the public when opening a polling location.

AR: Halter: Concerned about Garland Co. early voting:

Lt. Gov. Bill Halter's campaign says it's concerned that Garland County election officials reneged on their promise to allow early voting on Saturday.

AR: O'Brien plan to avoid vote fiasco:

Pat O'Brien, in the Democratic primary runoff for secretary of state, steps forward with some sound legislative proposals to avoid future fiascos such as has occurred in Garland County

For important voting news headlines and highlights of the type highlighted above, be sure to sign up for Joyce's excellent, nightly emailed newsletter right here and/or follow @VotingNews on Twitter!

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UPDATE 6/8/10: One more for now, also courtesy Joyce this morning, for those wondering who Garland had supported in the general primary election on May 18th:

AR: Halter, Lincoln in war of words to the finish:

“We certainly are concerned that Garland County, which has over 80,000 Arkansas citizens and had approximately 40 polling sites for the primary, has now been reduced down to two polling sites,” Halter told reporters today during a campaign stop in Little Rock’s River Market district.

Garland County was the most populous county Halter won on May 18. He received 44 percent of the county’s vote to Lincoln’s 40 percent.