Randolph County wet/dry trial concludes; judge deliberating

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POCAHONTAS, Ark. – After three days of court, the bench trial against the county clerk over the wet county issue is now in deliberation.

According to a representative with the circuit clerk’s office, the bench trial for the Randolph County wet/dry matter is over but the judge has not made any decision yet. She said he is going to have to look over the information.

She also added he had not given any indication as to how much time he needs to make the decision but it will likely not arrive until at least next week.

Several individuals sued Randolph County Clerk Rhonda Blevins, claiming she had improperly handled the petitioners’ signatures. Blevins told the court Wednesday she went above and beyond to handle the situation appropriately and legally.

However, at least some signatures were initially thrown out which were later added back in, to the tune of several hundred. Ultimately though, the group, Keep Revenue in Randolph County, fell short by 371, according to Blevins’ testimony.

As was heard in court Wednesday, 272 valid petition signatures were thrown out because they were on pages with one out of county signature. In addition, 286 were thrown out because one of the canvassers who was not registered with the clerk’s office.

3,813 signatures were needed to give voters a choice in November, which was 38 percent of registered voters in Randolph County. The group managed to get Blevins to certify 3,452 signatures, despite submitting 6,295. The 38 percent requirement is uniquely high for the local option issue, due to state laws.

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