HARRISON, Ark. – Early voters are turning out in record numbers this year in Arkansas.
According to the Secretary of State’s office, as of November 1, more than 300,000 residents had cast their ballots early.
Whether a result of the candidates, controversial issues or convenience, Boone County Clerk, Crystal Graddy, says the high turnout should make life easier on November 8.
“I can’t imagine it any other way,” Graddy says, “[Early voting has] made it so much easier for people to vote.”
Graddy estimates when the polls close Tuesday, a quarter of registered voters in Boone County will have put this election cycle behind them.
“We don’t have the extremely long lines. There’s always places, especially around lunch time, that you have long lines but our lines do not compare to other large metropolitan areas in other states,” she says.
Early voting numbers through the first week of early voting in Arkansas shaped up like this:
- Baxter: 6,067
- Boone: 5,477
- Marion: 2,012
- Carroll: 3,218
“When you voted on the same day, they were out the door and way down the line,” says Diamond City resident, Rose Hodge. “especially when there’s a presidential election.”
“I think more people will end up voting by the time it’s all done [because of early voting],” says Boone County resident, Lynn Cole.
But early voting this year has had a few drawbacks: the casino measure was kicked off the ballot after the ballots had already been printed and one of the pot proposals was removed after early voting had started.
“So [voters are] saying, ‘well, if I had known, I would have voted on the other one,’” Graddy says, “because there are two amendments that are very similar. But very rarely do we have that scenario.”
Graddy is telling residents who voted for the now void medical marijuana measure that they can cast a provisional ballot. However, it is unknown if their new votes will count.
Early voting in Arkansas ends on November 7.