Early voting begins Tuesday for a special primary election to fill the empty seat in State House District 36. Five democratic candidates are vying to fill the spot left when former representative and House Minority Leader Charles Blake resigned to take a new role as Chief of Staff for Little Rock under Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.
Evelyn Gomez, chair of the Pulaski County Election Commission, says preparations for the special primary election have been underway since the announcement.
"We have a very competent staff that has been getting everything ready that we needed for this election," Gomez said. "It’s not a huge amount of people involved in that area. We have registered voters – about 16,000 almost. The staff has just been fabulous with getting this prepared."
Bryan Poe, the Director of Elections for Pulaski County, said even though this is a small special election, precautions are being taken for election security.
"With this election and the upcoming 2020 elections, we're working with several entities including the [Pulaski] County Clerk, Ms. Hollingsworth, as well as the Secretary of State's office, and we're reaching out to the Department of Homeland Security to see what type of assistance they may be able to provide," said Poe.
A 2017 report from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence indicated a high degree of certainty that Russian attempts to influence U.S. elections included targeting state and county agencies. According to the report, "Russian intelligence accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards. Since early 2014, Russian intelligence has researched US electoral processes and related technology and equipment."
Early voting runs Tuesday, July 30th through Monday, August 5th. Election Day is Tuesday, August 6. A list of polling sites and hours is available here.