Voting in Arkansas

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Arkansas permits early voting, but does not allow no-excuse absentee voting or online voter registration. In October 2014 the Arkansas Supreme Court struck down Arkansas' new law requiring photo identification. On Election Day, voters in Arkansas will be asked to, but are not required to, present a valid photo ID at the polls.

For full information about voting in Arkansas, contact your state election agency.

Registration

Arkansas utilizes an open primary system, meaning voters are not required to declare a party preference when registering to vote.

To vote in Arkansas, you must:[1]

  • Be a U.S. citizen.
  • Be an Arkansas resident (residing in Arkansas at least 30 days prior to the first election in which you will vote).
  • Be age 18 or turn 18 on or before the next election.
  • Not be a convicted felon whose sentence has not been discharged or pardoned.
  • Not be presently adjudged as mentally incompetent as to your ability to vote by a court of competent jurisdiction.[2]

—Arkansas Secretary of State

When and where

The application must be submitted no later than 30 days before the election you wish to vote in. You may register to vote by mail or in one of the following locations:[1]

  • County clerk's office in your home county
  • State Revenue Office, Driver Services (pick up a paper form or ask for your information to be transmitted electronically)
  • Public library or Arkansas State Library
  • Public assistance agency
  • Disability agency
  • Military recruitment office
  • Arkansas National Guard
  • Voter registration drive[2]

—Arkansas Secretary of State

Online registration

See also: Online voter registration in the 50 states

As of March 2015, Arkansas is one of 30 states that have not implemented full online voter registration.

Voting on Election Day

Voter identification

See also: Voter identification laws by state

On March 19, 2013, the Arkansas Senate sent a photo voter identification bill (SB 2) to Gov. Mike Beebe for final approval. The Senate voted 22-12 in agreement with a House amendment to the measure. According to reports, the governor planned to wait for Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel to respond to a lawmaker's question about the constitutionality of the bill. Prior to the Senate's vote the Senate Rules Committee issued a non-binding advisory opinion that the Senate had previously not properly passed the bill. The committee said that because SB 2 would alter the Arkansas Constitution it would require a two-thirds vote to approve. The advisory opinion was rejected by the full Senate. On March 25, 2013, Beebe rejected the bill, claiming it "unnecessarily restricts and impairs our citizens' right to vote." Beebe also noted that the implementation costs would rise to $300,000.[3][4] On March 27, 2013, the Arkansas Senate voted 21-12, along party lines, to override the governor's veto.[5]

On April 1, 2013, the Arkansas House of Representatives voted 52-45 in agreement with the Arkansas Senate to override Gov. Beebe's veto.[6][7] The new law took effect January 1, 2014.[8] On April 16, 2014, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Public Law Center filed a lawsuit on behalf of four plaintiffs who did not possess photo IDs, or elected not to show them, when they went to vote and were thus given a provisional ballot that was not counted. The lawsuit sought to overturn the state's voter ID law on the grounds that it violated the Arkansas Constitution, which states that no law may be enacted that could impair or forfeit a citizen's right to vote.[9]

Voters in Arkansas are asked to present non-photo identification, but are not necessarily required to do so in order to cast a non-provisional ballot. On April 24, 2014, a Circuit Court in Pulaski County ruled that the Arkansas State Legislature had exceeded its authority in implementing the voter ID bill, as it conflicted with the Arkansas Constitution.[10] The law remained in effect for the primary election that took place May 20, 2014. Ultimately, the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that the voter ID law was unconstitutional.[11][12]

A voter in Arkansas may be asked to present non-photo identification at the polls, but he or she is not necessarily required to do so in order to cast a non-provisional ballot.

Poll times

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times

In Arkansas, all polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. If the polls close while you are still in line, you will be permitted to vote.[13]

Absentee voting

See also: Absentee voting

Eligibility

You are eligible to vote absentee in an election if you cannot make it to the polls on Election Day for one of the following reasons:[14]

  • you will be unavoidably absent from your polling site on Election Day, OR
  • you will be unable to attend your polling site on Election Day due to illness or physical disability, OR
  • you are a member of the U.S. armed forces, merchant marines or the spouse or a dependant family member, OR
  • you are a U.S. citizen domiciled in Arkansas but temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States.[2]

—Arkansas Secretary of State

Deadlines

To vote absentee a request must be received at least seven days prior to the election (by mail or fax) or the day before election (in person). The ballot must then be returned either in person by close of business the day before the election or by mail. If returned by mail, it must be received by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.[14]

Military and overseas voting

For full details regarding military and overseas voting, visit the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Early voting

See also: Early voting

Arkansas is one of 34 states that has early voting with no specific requirements as to who can vote early. Depending on the type of election, early voting begins seven to 15 days before an election and ends on the day prior to Election Day.[15] The average number of days prior to an election that voters can cast an early ballot is 21 days in states with a definitive starting date.

Recent news

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All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.

Arkansas Voting News Feed

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See also

Elections in Arkansas

External links

References