Saturday, August 06, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Pruitt should leave council

Beebe Alderman David Lee Pruitt, 57, this week pleaded guilty to election fraud, a misdemeanor, after he was caught voting twice in the March primary. He voted early at Beebe City Hall, where he returned on Election Day to cast another ballot.

Pruitt was fined $750 but insisted he had made an honest mistake when he voted in town and at the White County Courthouse.

Leader reporter Jeffrey Smith wrote the story here first in April: White County sheriff’s deputies arrested Pruitt on April 15 for violating state election law. White County Circuit Judge Robert Edwards signed the arrest warrant charging him with a class D felony.

Pruitt was accused of voting on Feb. 26 and on March 1. White County Election Commission chairman Lester Allen filed a complaint with the prosecutor’s office after a review of the ballots indicated Pruitt voted twice.

Prosecutor Rebecca Reed-McCoy notified the Beebe police chief on March 14 about the suspected violation. Ballew informed Mayor Mike Robertson and ordered an investigation.

Pruitt was released on a $2,500 bond. Pruitt, who is in his first term, was elected alderman in Ward 1 in 2014.

This was the kind of election fraud that’s supposed to happen elsewhere. Pruitt has brought embarrassment on himself and his city and should resign. Mayor Mike Robertson should call for a new election so the city can go about its business and file this episode as a civic lesson against voter fraud.

Voter fraud is rare. No one should try it because the stakes are too high. Just ask Alderman Pruitt, who should have known better.