Ballot Info Available as Early Voting Begins in Arkansas
Little Rock – Early voting starts Monday, and there are several resources Arkansans can use to inform themselves about issues on their local ballot. Comments from Nell Matthews, president, League of Women Voters of Arkansas.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Early voting in Arkansas begins on Monday and runs through November 2. Residents should check with their local county clerk's office to find poll locations and hours.
On Election Day, all polls in Arkansas are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. If you are in line at your designated polling place before 7:30, you must be allowed to vote.
Nell Matthews, president of the League of Women Voters of Arkansas, said this year, there are three state issues on the ballot.
"Issue 1 is about the half-cent sales tax for the highway commission," said Matthews. "Issue 2 is a version of term limits proposed by the Legislature, and Issue 3 is the Legislature's rewriting the rules for how citizen initiated petitions and ballot initiatives are handled."
Matthews recommended using the University of Arkansas' Cooperative Extension Service ballot issues guide to learn more about the constitutional amendments. To see the guide, visit 'uaex.edu/ballot.'
She also pointed to resources such as 'vote411.org', where you can enter your address and view your local ballot.
For Arkansans voting absentee, it's important to make sure your ballot is filled out correctly. Matthews said Arkansans with questions about their absentee ballot can call their local county clerk's office.
The Arkansas Secretary of State website has a list of contact information for county clerks.
"People are very worried about filling it out properly," said Matthews. "Did they get all the Is dotted and Ts crossed? The League has been handing out stamps to give to people to return their ballots. But I understand that the post office has promised that they will deliver all the ballots."
She said some county clerks are working to create ballot drop-off stations where residents can drive up, show their ID and drop off their ballot from their vehicle.
Matthews noted there are also protocols to follow if you've requested an absentee ballot, but then decide you want to vote in person.
"They need to carry that absentee ballot with them because they're going to be shown on the record as having voted absentee," said Matthews. "And so they need to take that ballot with them if they actually go to the poll in person."
She encouraged Arkansans voting in person to wear a mask to protect themselves and others, in case there are crowds or long lines. She also said final results may not be available on Election Night, because state and local election officials could need extra time to make sure that every legitimate ballot is accounted for.
Residents who experience issues at the polls can call the national Election Protection hotline at 866-OUR-VOTE.
Support for this reporting was provided by The Carnegie Corporation of New York.