LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A Republican U.S. Senate candidate running against incumbent Sen. John Boozman in the May primary is calling on Arkansas political leaders to investigate "unknown thousands" of ballots that misspelled his first name.
Jake Bequette released a statement Tuesday calling on Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to investigate ballots in Craighead County listing his name as "Jack" Bequette.
In the statement, Bequette said that officials have refused to correct the error, calling the incident "voter fraud."
“The voter fraud that occurred in the 2020 election was absolutely egregious, and now we’re seeing the establishment political machine try and steal another election here in Arkansas," Bequette's statement said.
The candidate goes on to say that election officials were aware of the error but "refused to act, correct the ballots, notify the voting public, or even notify my campaign."
"I’m calling for Secretary of State John Thurston and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge to fully investigate this fraud and find a solution that will ensure voters across Arkansas are able to confidently participate in this election process and vote for a true conservative warrior,” he said.
According to Bequette, the mistake was found in Craighead County ballots and "potentially other counties across the state."
We reached out to Thurston for comment, to which his office stated they discovered the misspelling on April 28 and contacted Craighead County who then failed to correct the error.
"We strongly advised them to correct the ballot as there was still ample time. We also alerted the county that Arkansas code requires a county to hold a public meeting to explain the error, give a solution to the error, or explain why the error can’t be fixed. The county failed to comply in both cases," Thurston said.
"I have instructed the Director of the State Board of Election Commissioners to reach out to Mr. Bequette to inform him of the formal complaint process."
Rutledge responded by saying the attorney general's office is "hopeful that a mutual resolution can be reached by all parties in the pending litigation. Candidates running for office deserve to have their names spelled correctly on the ballots and local election commissions should correct these errors in a timely manner.”
Craighead County has not responded to our request for comment.
We will update this article with more information as it becomes available.