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darter-toal-cotton-shockA few weeks ago we asked the Republican and Democrat candidates for Faulkner County Clerk to complete a questionnaire about their race.  Here are our questions and responses from Republican Margaret Darter (Democrat Aaron Knight did not return the questionnaire):


Married for 32 years, Joe and I have 4 children and 2 grandchildren.  I am a conservative Christian.

I have worked in the County Clerk’s office for 3 years and I am currently serving as Quorum Court Secretariat.  Before coming to work in the County Clerk’s office I was a paralegal for the Henry and Henry Law Firm for 15 years.

I have also worked as a Deputy Clerk in the Municipal Court system (which is now District Court).  I began my paralegal career with the Atkinson Law Firm in 1988.

I have lived in Conway for most of my adult life.  I grew up in Perry County and graduated from Bigelow High School.

I attended UCA for 1 year and completed my paralegal studies from South Central Career College in 1988.  I have completed 3 years of Bible Study from Faith Bible Institute and received a bachelor degree in Theology from Grace Baptist.

Which organizations can call you an active member?

I am an active member of the Republican Party, Republican Women of Arkansas and the Cattlemen’s Association.  I am an active member of Central Baptist Church where I serve on the Women’s Ministry Team.

What do you see as the most important qualification for the County Clerk’s job?

The most important qualification for the County Clerk is experience. The County Clerk needs to be someone that knows the legal field. Someone that knows how the process works from a civilian standpoint. Someone that is able to assist the attorneys with process.

The County Clerk also needs to know the law and changes that will affect the County Clerk’s office. The County Clerk needs to be familiar with the office and how the office runs, how to direct the employees and work with the other administrations of Faulkner County. The County Clerk needs to be able to work with the election commission and to perform the tasks that are required in the election process.

I have that knowledge and experience, both from working in the legal field and working in the County Clerk’s office.

Does voter fraud exist in Faulkner County?  If not, what steps would you put in place to ensure voter fraud doesn’t occur in the future?  If yes, how would you stop it?

As someone that has logged votes for 2 primaries, 1 general election, 2 school board elections and 1 city election, I am only aware of the possibility of one voter fraud which is currently under investigation.

Technology will be a key in preventing voter fraud.  It’s important to have the ability to log that a person has voted, where they have voted and to view their signature immediately, and for that information to be accessible to all the election workers that are logging in the voter.  The system the County Clerk’s office is using now is great but in order to be even better, we need the ability to log votes immediately and for every voting precinct to be able to access to information.

Though the County Clerk maintains these records and is responsible for the collection of this information, the process we have in place is determined by the Secretary of State.

Do you believe elections held outside of May primary and November general election dates (special elections) give all voters an equal chance to hear about, discuss, and then vote on issues? Why or why not?

Yes.  My experience working in the County Clerk’s office is that you can have too much on a ballot.  People are intimidated by the voting process and by knowing or not knowing what they are voting for.

When you combine city issues, school board issue and other matters at the same time you have a presidential election with 3 or 4 initiatives, you will have too many issues for a person to be able to process all they are voting for.

What should voters know about you, to obtain their votes?

The voters should know that I have 20 years experience in the legal field as a paralegal.  I have worked in various aspects of the legal field which has prepared me for the position of County Clerk.

I also work in the County Clerk’s office and have learned all functions of the office, including things like how to produce a payroll, process a claim, open a new case, file a pleading, issue a marriage license, and balance the expenditures and trust accounts.

I have assisted in the election process and have experience in absentee and early voting.  I also have experience is assisting the County Clerk is the process of programing the machines in preparation for an election.

This is a partisan position.  Are you familiar with your party’s platform?  Do you agree with it?

I am familiar with the Republican Party Platform and I agree that the Republican Party Platform is a blueprint for government of the people, by the people and for the people based upon the following principles:

The Power of Faith in God
The Sanctity of Life
Individual Responsibility and Initiative
Individual Freedom and Liberty Secured by a Limited Government
Private Property
Lower Taxes to Produce Economic Growth
Strong National Defense
The Personal Right to Own and Bear Arms
The Equal and Just Enforcement of the Law
Separate and Equal Branches of Government