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Pulaski County Election Officials Expect High Voter Turnout For Midterms Among National Trend

Early voting in Arkansas starts Monday, October 22nd.
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The Pulaski County Election Comission anticpates a higher voter turnout this midterm election compared to 2014. Director of Elections for the Pulaski County Election Comission, Bryan Poe, says in 2014 about 57,000 people turned out for early voting in the midterms, which was  52.6 percent of registered voters in Pulaski County. That's higher than the national average of 40 percent who turn out to vote for a midterm election.

"I would guess we would have somewhere between 60 and 70 thousand for early voting," he says. "This being a midterm election it will typcailly be a lower turnout than we have in a general election that has the presidency on it."

According to NPR, this midterm election could be a 50-year record for voter turnout. "The 2018 elections could see the highest turnout for a midterm since the mid-1960s, another time of cultural and social upheaval." 

 Michael McDonald, a professor at the University of Florida who studies turnout and maintains a turnout database, told the national public radio outlet, "It's probably going to be a turnout rate that most people have never experienced in their lives for a midterm election."

Early voting in Arkansas will start on Monday October 22nd. Poe has advice for residents who want to cast their ballot early and avoid long wait times.

"I would encourage people to get out and take advtange of our Saturday hours," he says. "Traditionally those have been light voting days. Get out and take advantage of that, usually the lines are shorter."

Poe also says after the first couple of days early voting things generally taper off which he notes is another good time to get in to vote and beat the lines.

There are nine early voting locations in the county. For offsite locations the hours will be from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. On Saturdays they will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The mainsite location located downtown on the corner of Markham and Broadway will open two hours earlier during the week being open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and also 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

View a list of all nine early voting sites within the county here.