SHADY GROVE, Ark. – A newspaper report on voter registration activity at Shady Grove is turning into a recommended Arkansas State Police investigation.
The route from U.S. 63 between Bono and Walnut Ridge leads through a tiny stretch of Greene County. In that area, the Old Country Store has opened, selling beer, wine and other alcoholic beverages (but excluding hard liquor) and is routinely packed full of customers. But some are demanding the small area, covered in the Shady Grove township, be turned “dry.” Management there told NEA Report everything was at risk in the vote, as it would end their business if forced to no longer sell alcoholic beverages.
Just one week prior to the election, a report by The Jonesboro Sun highlighted a spike in voter registration. In the Nov. 1 edition of the newspaper, reporter Jeff Bricker learned of several camper-trailers parked behind the Old Country Store in Greene County – the catalyst for the wet/dry vote. The trailers had no utilities, no electricity and did not appear to be habitable – yet, several voters were registered as occupants, there.
When Second Judicial District Prosecutor Scott Ellington learned of this, he did not shy away from immediate action. He notified NEA Report on Wednesday evening of a letter he sent to Arkansas State Police Captain Mark Hollingsworth.
“I have received information of potential voter fraud pertaining to the current wet/dry issue being considered in the Shady Grove township of Greene County, Arkansas,” Ellington wrote. “It is my understanding that in June 2016, there were 71 registered votes residing within the township. By the time early voting began on October 25, 2016, the voter roll had increased to 103 registered voters within the township.”
Ellington said he did not think it was a coincidence the wet/dry vote for the township was being decided at the same time as the sharp spike.
“I have received reports that several used camper trailers are being used as the places of
residence for some of the township’s newest registered voters,” Ellington wrote. “These trailers appear not to be habitable due to lack of basic utilities, such as water, electricity, and/or gas connections.”
Ellington also discussed other questionable behavior highlighted by The Sun and said he would appreciate Arkansas State Police opening a criminal investigation into the matter.
The original report is viewable on The Sun’s Facebook page.