2017 Arkansas Code
Title 7 - Elections
Chapter 4 - Boards of Election Commissioners and Other Election Officers
Subchapter 1 - General Provisions
§ 7-4-120. Complaints of election law violations -- Definitions

Universal Citation: AR Code § 7-4-120 (2017)
  • (a)
    • (1) Except as provided in subdivision (a)(2) of this section, the State Board of Election Commissioners may investigate alleged violations, render findings, and impose sanctions according to this subchapter for violations of election and voter registration laws.
    • (2) The State Board of Election Commissioners shall not investigate alleged violations, render findings, or impose sanctions concerning violations of:
      • (A) The provisions of § 7-1-103(a)(1)-(4), (6), and (7); or
      • (B) Campaign finance and disclosure laws for which the Arkansas Ethics Commission has the duty and authority to investigate and sanction under §§ 7-6-217 and 7-6-218.
  • (b) (1) A complaint shall be filed with the State Board of Election Commissioners in writing within thirty (30) days of:
    • (A) An alleged violation of the voter registration laws; or
    • (B) The election associated with the complaint;
      • (2) A complaint shall be signed by the complainant under penalty of perjury.
      • (3) (A) A complaint shall clearly:
        • (i) Describe the alleged violation, including without limitation the supporting facts for the violation;
        • (ii) State when the alleged violation occurred; and
        • (iii) State the location of the alleged violation.
    • (B)
      • (i) The complaint may specify a desired resolution to the complaint.
      • (ii) If the complaint is timely filed but does not specify the desired resolution of the complainant:
        • (a) The State Board of Election Commissioners shall notify the complainant that a desired resolution is not specified; and
        • (b) The complainant may file the additional information within ten (10) days from mailing of the notice.
          • (4)
            • (A) If a complaint does not meet the requirements of this section, the complaint shall be dismissed.
            • (B) If a complaint is dismissed because it does not meet the requirements of this section, the State Board of Election Commissioners shall notify the complainant of the fact of dismissal.
          • (5) A person shall not file a frivolous complaint.
          • (6)
            • (A) If a complaint is filed as required by this section, the State Board of Election Commissioners shall investigate the alleged violation.
            • (B) Immediately upon beginning an investigation under this section, the State Board of Election Commissioners shall notify the person under investigation of the fact of the investigation and the nature of the investigation.
            • (C) If at the conclusion of the investigation, the State Board of Election Commissioners finds that there is probable cause to believe there has been a violation of the voter registration laws or election laws, the State Board of Election Commissioners may set a public hearing.
        • (c)
          • (1) The State Board of Election Commissioners shall maintain a record of all inquiries, investigations, and proceedings.
          • (2) Except as provided in subdivisions (c)(3) and (4) of this section, records under this section are exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act of 1967, § 25-19-101 et seq., until:
            • (A) A hearing by the State Board of Election Commissioners is set; or
            • (B) The investigation by the State Board of Election Commissioners is closed by the State Board of Election Commissioners.
          • (3) The State Board of Election Commissioners may disclose, through its members or staff, otherwise confidential information to proper law enforcement officers, agencies, and other entities as is necessary to conduct the investigation under this section.
          • (4) The records of the investigation upon which the State Board of Election Commissioners has based its findings shall be opened to public inspection thirty (30) days after the final adjudication in which the State Board of Election Commissioners makes a final decision.
        • (d)
          • (1) If the State Board of Election Commissioners determines that the complaint can be addressed through documentary submissions and without a formal investigation, the State Board of Election Commissioners may address the complaint with documentary submissions.
          • (2) If the State Board of Election Commissioners determines that an investigation is necessary, the State Board of Election Commissioners shall provide to the person who is the subject of the complaint:
            • (A) A copy of the complaint; and
            • (B) Instructions for filing a response.
          • (3) The State Board of Election Commissioners may:
            • (A) Administer oaths for the purpose of taking sworn statements from witnesses in the course of its investigations;
            • (B) Request the person who is the subject of the complaint to answer allegations in writing, produce relevant evidence, or appear in person before the State Board of Election Commissioners; and
            • (C) Subpoena any person or the books, records, or other documents relevant to the investigation or inquiry.
          • (4) The State Board of Election Commissioners shall:
            • (A) Provide the person subpoenaed with reasonable notice of the subpoena and an opportunity to respond; and
            • (B) Advise the complainant and the person who is the subject of the complaint in writing of the final action of the State Board of Election Commissioners.
        • (e) If the State Board of Election Commissioners finds a violation of the voter registration laws or election laws under its jurisdiction, the State Board of Election Commissioners may:
          • (1) Issue a public letter of caution, warning, or reprimand;
          • (2) Impose a fine of no less than twenty-five dollars ($25.00) and no more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for a negligent, knowing, or intentional violation;
          • (3) Report the information obtained in the investigation and the findings and determinations of the State Board of Election Commissioners to the appropriate law enforcement authorities;
          • (4) Order payment of the costs of the investigation and hearing; or
          • (5) Combine any of the sanctions authorized under this section.
        • (f) The State Board of Election Commissioners shall advise the complainant and the person who is the subject of the complaint of the:
          • (1) Finding of the State Board of Election Commissioners;
          • (2) Final action taken and sanctions issued by the State Board of Election Commissioners; and
          • (3) Reasons for the findings, final actions, and sanctions.
        • (g) The State Board of Election Commissioners shall maintain a record of all inquiries, investigations, and proceedings.
        • (h)
          • (1) The State Board of Election Commissioners shall adopt rules concerning the imposition of fines under this section.
          • (2) If a person fails to pay the fines ordered by the State Board of Election Commissioners under this section, the State Board of Election Commissioners may obtain a judgment from a court for the amount of the fine imposed by filing suit in the:
            • (A) Pulaski County Circuit Court;
            • (B) Circuit court of the county in which the person resides; or
            • (C) Small claims division of a district court.
          • (3) The fee for filing of a suit in a circuit or district court in this state shall be waived for the State Board of Election Commissioners.
          • (4) All moneys received by the State Board of Election Commissioners in payment of fines shall be deposited into the State Treasury as general revenues.
        • (i)
          • (1) The State Board of Election Commissioners shall conclude its investigation and take its final action under this section within one hundred eighty (180) days of the filing of a complaint.
          • (2) If the State Board of Election Commissioners holds a hearing under this section, the State Board of Election Commissioners shall conclude all actions under this section within two hundred forty (240) days.
        • (j) A final action of the State Board of Election Commissioners under this section is an adjudication for purposes of judicial review under § 25-15-212.
        • (k) As used in this section:
          • (1) "Election laws" means the Arkansas statutes concerning elections conducted by county boards of election commissioners and the rules promulgated by the State Board of Election Commissioners under § 7-4-101 concerning elections conducted by county boards of election commissioners;
          • (2) "Frivolous" means clearly lacking any basis in fact or law; and
          • (3) "Voter registration laws" means those laws under Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 51, and the rules promulgated pursuant to Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 51.
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