WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Early voting is officially underway across Arkansas for the primaries.

Janine Parry, a political science professor at the University of Arkansas, said the primary elections are going to have a big impact on policy over the next two years.

Jennifer Price the Director of Elections for Washington County said although there’s been some recent changes to voting, like new check-in machines, early voting has gone smoothly for voters and poll workers.

“Come vote during this two-week time period, so you can get in and out really quickly,” said Price.

Price said they’ve seen a slow turnout so far, but expect it to ramp up throughout the early voting period.

It isn’t as loud for primary races, just as it’s not as loud for general elections when there’s not a president on the ballot, but in what I think is just a miserable irony, most of the policies that affect people’s everyday lives are actually being decided now,” said Parry.

Parry said the primary turnout is usually less than 20 percent of eligible voters, but for some races, such as the prosecutor and schools board, the primary is the deciding election.

Parry said those voting in the primaries are typically the more polarized voters, those leaning far left or right. Instead of sticking with their party, she said we could see more Democrat voters choosing to vote the Republican ballot in order to push more moderate candidates through.

Early voting will continue each day from 8 am to 6 pm for the next two weeks.

Also, with many people in new districts, Price and Parry said the best way to prepare if you’re a registered voter is to print a sample ballot online and get familiar with who’ll be on it.