Easing Arkansas absentee voting rules due to virus rejected

Coronavirus

Early voter receives his I-Voted sticker, at an early voting polling station at the Ranchito Avenue Elementary School in the Panorama City section of Los Angeles on Monday, March 2, 2020. Major changes to the way people vote has election advocates on edge as Californians cast ballots in the Democratic presidential contest and other primary races. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas lawmakers have rejected an effort to allow voters this fall to cast an absentee ballot without an excuse because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Joint Budget Committee on Thursday rejected the proposal. It would have waived a state law that only allows absentee ballots to be requested due to illness, physical disability or the voter being unavoidably absent.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson waived that requirement for the state’s primary runoff last month. The proposal rejected would have allowed no-excuse absentee ballots through the end of the year.

Arkansas does not have a statewide election until the November general election. 

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