Voters in Phillips County are reacting with intense frustration as they headed to the polls as early voting began this week. The reason for their anger? The presence of Lenora Marshall on their ballots, who’s running for Justice of the Peace.

Sample ballots for the Democratic primary list her name as a candidate for Justice of the Peace, District 9. 

Here’s the problem: she might have committed election fraud last year. In the summer of 2023, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported that state investigators referred the case to prosecutors after another candidate accused Marshall of using “illegal absentee ballots.” 

Attorney General Tim Griffin said at that time he would be investigating, but as far as we can tell, there have been no updates since, and clearly, Marshall is again on the ballot. 

This is immensely frustrating for Phillips County voters. Arkansas has the lowest voter turnout in the nation at 54%, compared to the nationwide average of 66%. Voters often don’t trust the system, and stories like this remind them why

Someone credibly accused of violating election law is again on their ballots. Even if Marshall is innocent, voters don’t seem to have received any public statements on the outcome of the investigation from the AG or local election officials (who were under fire for an incredibly slow count last November and decertified as part of the investigation that implicated Marshall), so they can’t be sure they’re voting for a candidate with integrity. That’s a difficult place to be for a voter. 

Voters deserve transparency and clear communication from their election officials. If we want to turn out our voters, they have to trust the system.