Arkansas On Track To Have Highest Voter Turnout For Midterm In Years

Nov 1, 2018

Early voters walking out of Sue Cowan Williams Library in Little Rock on Wednesday.
Credit Colton Faull / KUAR News

Early voting locations in Little Rock are seeing a steady stream of people casting their ballots. There was no wait at Williams Library in Little Rock as people trickled in. Katina Nelson, who voted at the Library, said she was motivated to vote in this midterm election because of the results of the 2016 presidential election.

"I think that is really what prompted me to come out because I usually don't even vote during local things like this a lot of the time if I don't know what's going on," she said. "But I think what prompted me really to come out even though I'm not voting for the president per se is because of what happened...as an African American we fought hard to get to this place."

Some voters are even detouring from how they usually vote. Francis Shackleford said she always shows up to the polls and voted all blue this time.

"I'm an independent but in this case, I voted Democrat wherever I could and Libertarian where I couldn't," she said.

Shackleford said she’s not happy with the direction of the country in particular President Trump’s immigration policy to separate parents and children at the border.

"I am so offended by so many things that I never thought my country would be putting children in concentration camps," she said.

Pulaski County Election officials predict a higher voter turnout than the previous two midterm elections. That’s in line with a national trend with experts saying 2018 could see the highest turnout for a midterm since the mid-1960s.

Marcia Glasspur who also voted at the library and said over the last decade other members of her family have become politically active.

"They became registered at the term of Obama," she said. "At that time there were a lot of them that were not registered so they registered at that time."

She calls it a civic duty.

"I think people should make sure they register and vote and make sure they vote what they believe they're concerns are otherwise we shouldn't even comment about what goes on here in America because we didn't vote, don't express concerns."

Bryan Poe, director of elections in Pulaski County, says wait times can vary at the different early voting locations. At the Pulaski County Regional Building, there’s no wait according to Poe while at the McMath Library wait times are up to 45 minutes. He also says the number of people who cast their ballot this past weekend on the first Saturday of early voting has increased from previous years

"The turnout was decent this time around. It looks like we had about 3,000 people vote on Saturday," he said. "Just for comparison, back in 2010, on the first Saturday of early voting we had 1,000 people. In 2014 the first day of Saturday early voting we had 2,600 people vote."

As of mid-afternoon Wednesday, Poe says nearly 46,000 people in the county had voted early