AR: absentee voting allowed amid COVID-19

Coronavirus

ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) — If you don’t feel comfortable voting in person in the November general election as a result of COVID-19 — you won’t have to.

Beginning Thursday, July 2, you may request an absentee ballot.

Governor Asa Hutchinson says the decision was made based on Secretary of State John Thurston’s interpretation of the current requirement to qualify for an absentee ballot.

How you’ll be able to vote in the November election has been a big issue nationwide. But, in Arkansas, the governor says everyone is in agreement.

“When it comes to easier access to the polls and a safe environment during COVID-19, we are all in agreement on this particular issue,” said Governor Hutchinson.

Thurston said, “the November election will look like all of the other elections in the past with the exception there will be folks wearing masks, there will be gloves, there will be hand sanitizer.”

The items are being purchased with CARES Act funding.

Washington County Elections Director Jennifer Price said two-percent of the total votes cast in 2016 were absentee.

With this current health crisis, she said the county is now prepping for a lot more absentee ballots — ensuring there’s no chance for them to run out of supplies.

We are starting out with what we think is a high number of absentees — 40 percent. We can always make adjustments if we need to, but we do know that we will have plenty of ballot stock and materials for the voters.

JENNIFER PRICE, WASHINGTON COUNTY ELECTIONS DIRECTOR

If you want to vote using an absentee ballot, applications must be submitted by October 27. You may still get a ballot in person until November 2.

Absentee ballots must be received by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day or it won’t be accepted.

That’s why Price said it’s best to fill out the application sooner rather than later.

Coronavirus in Arkansas: State to allow absentee ballots due to COVID-19 concerns this November

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