LITTLE ROCK, ARK. (KTVE/KARD) — A non-partisan academic study recently released by Northern Illinois University placed Arkansas 48th out of 50 states in a list of how easy it is to vote in the states. The study says there are numerous reasons why Arkansas is ranked 48th.
“There’s laws that restrict absentee ballot distribution by a third party, there’s restrictions on time and quantity of absentee ballots that can be returned, laws about who can return the ballot,” said Scot Schraufnagel, political science professor at Northern Illinois University.
Some other factors that went into the state’s low ranking are the fact that there is no same-day voter registration and no polling place or online registration. Arkansas is not the only state that has passed or enacted restrictive voting laws, 19 other states have also done so since 2020.
Arkansas, and some of the other states towards the bottom of the list, are very different from those at the top of the list, like Oregon and Vermont. These states have recently moved to all mail-in voting.
“The ballot comes in the mail, they’re a registered voter, they fill it out at the kitchen table, put it in a secure envelope, sign the outside of the envelope because it’s their signature that’s gonna be their ID, and then drop it off in the mailbox or a secure ballot drop box,” Schraufnagel said.
He also says that some states argue they make it easier to vote in order to increase voter turnout, but there is no proof that higher turnout benefits one party or another.