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Winter WX Stifles EMS Early Voting

Winter weather is having a chilling effect on the first day of early voting for Benton County's special election concerning rural ambulance service.
Bentonville, AR - Winter weather is having a chilling effect on the first day of early voting for Benton County's special election concerning rural ambulance service.

"We started off this morning very slow," says County Clerk Tena O'Brien.

She says the first and last days of early voting usually see the strongest turnout.

"This vote is a special election that has been called to place ambulance fees of $85 on each household in Benton County," she says.

The fees would be used to reimburse EMS providers for runs made to unincorporated areas but only 44 voters showed up Tuesday. Voters may be waiting for safer conditions, but O'Brien's staff will be on hand.

"I do have a very dedicated employee who went to the office and spent the night so that she could be open for early voting," she says. "It doesn't matter what type of weather we have. There's no provision in state law, for in-climate weather, so we're here until election day."

She says snow days offer an opportunity to skip the lines next Tuesday.

"If they're on their way home from work or something, if they got off early or something, they might want to take the opportunity to come by and vote," she says.

"We would welcome some business."

The sheriff's office is helping O'Brien's staff to get to and from the polling places, and roads are dangerous right now.

Early voting continues through Monday, February 10, so drivers may want to wait for better conditions.

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