2020 Election

Election early vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

With the general election less than two weeks away, Arkansans currently have three ways to vote: on Election Day, Nov. 3, during early voting which runs until Nov. 2, or with an absentee ballot, where the deadline to apply to receive one by mail is Oct. 27. 

On the Arkansas absentee ballot application itself, voters must choose between three options for requesting a ballot.

They are:

Candidates for Arkansas' 2nd District Congressional seat speaking with the Delta Grassroots Caucus on Oct. 14. Democratic state Sen. Joyce Elliott (left) spoke first, followed by U.S. Rep. French Hill.
Delta Grassroots Caucus

With recent polling showing a razor-tight race for Arkansas’ 2nd congressional district, money from national political organizations is flowing into Arkansas. As voters are being inundated with negative advertising between the two candidates, they are about to get another chance to hear the candidates’ views.

Arkansas PBS

Government spending and taxes emerged as main topics during a debate between candidates for Arkansas’ 3rd congressional district on Tuesday. 

Republican Congressman Steve Womack, the incumbent, spoke on his experience on the House Budget Committee and his vote for the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the economic impact he said it had.   

Arkansas PBS / YouTube

Arkansas 4th District Rep. Bruce Westerman met with his Democrat and Libertarian challengers in a debate held by Arkansas PBS Tuesday. Democrat William Hanson and Libertarian Frank Gilbert are challenging the incumbent Republican congressman in the race to represent the southwest Arkansas district in the U.S House of Representatives.

Westerman is a trained forester and engineer and has served in the House since 2015. Hanson is an attorney and former law professor. Gilbert is the former mayor of the Grant County town of Tull.

Arkansas PBS

The issue of healthcare and the future of the Affordable Care Act were main topics during a debate between two candidates for Arkansas’ 2nd Congressional District.

The debate, held by Arkansas PBS, between incumbent congressman French Hill (R), and Arkansas state senator Joyce Elliott (D), ranged in discussion between police funding, preparation for another pandemic and working across the aisle in bipartisanship. 

When answering a question concerning the future of healthcare, Elliott said she believes Congress should work towards improving the Affordable Care Act, or ACA.

Participants in Issues That Matter: On the Ballot and in the Voting Booth.
YouTube

In the latest Issues That Matter, a series of presentations by KUAR, the Central Arkansas Library System, and the League of Women Voters of Pulaski County, a discussion about statewide proposals to be decided by Arkansas voters in the November election. We also talked about Election Day concerns about voting amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

This forum was streamed live online on Sept. 17, focusing on the three remaining proposals to be considered by Arkansas voters:

Vote button
Talk Business & Politics

A lawsuit was filed Tuesday by the League of Women Voters of Arkansas to alter the process for accounting for absentee ballots this fall. The lawsuit claims the state's requirements for accepting absentee ballots is unconstitutional, and seeks a court-ordered change before the Nov. 3 general election.

The lawsuit – League of Women Voter of Arkansas v. Thurston – was filed in federal court against Secretary of State John Thurston and several members of the State Board of Election Commissioners.

Pulaski Circuit County Clerk

Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day. The holiday, which occurs the fourth Tuesday of every September, is designed to encourage an increase in voter participation, but efforts to get people registered have been happening for weeks in Arkansas. Pulaski County Circuit and County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth says there are already 12,000 more registered voters than at this time four years ago. She credits new collaborations for the increase.

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a proposed initiated act to overturn a state law expanding optometric procedures does not qualify for the November ballot. The measure would have overturned Act 579 of 2019, which permitted optometrists to perform limited eye surgeries.

Safe Surgery Arkansas, which was supported by the state’s ophthalmologists, is the group that was pushing to overturn Act 579. Arkansans for Healthy Eyes, a group led by optometrists, had challenged the ballot initiative.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

With the coronavirus continuing to spread in Arkansas, the number of people wanting to vote by absentee ballot has risen sharply compared to the last presidential election year.

In Pulaski County, 10,039 registered voters had requested an absentee ballot as of Thursday, according to the office of Pulaski County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth. At this point in 2016, there were 1,545 requests, an increase of 550%.

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday tossed two ballot initiatives that would have enacted constitutional amendments creating a legislative redistricting commission and a system of open primaries and ranked choice voting.

In a decision written by Associate Justice Robin Wynne, the court agreed with Secretary of State John Thurston, who had disqualified both efforts because they did not verify that signature collectors had “passed” criminal background checks. Instead, both efforts had certified that they had “been timely acquired.”

Pulaski Circuit County Clerk

Election officials are preparing for an expected increase in the number of voters casting absentee ballots in November. Pulaski County Circuit and County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth is hosting an on-line training Tuesday night for those interested in learning how to help others register to vote or cast an absentee ballot.

"We usually send out about 8,000 or 9,000 absentee ballots. That's what we sent out in 2016 and right now, we're already at the point where we have 4,261 people who have requested to vote absentee."

Election Voters Voting
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The November election is less than four months away. In Arkansas, the marquee match up is for the second district congressional seat between incumbent U.S. Rep. French Hill, R-Little Rock and State Sen. Joyce Elliott, D-Little Rock.  The seat continues to be one Democrats, despite falling short over the last decade, hope to reclaim.

Election early vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Monday marked Pulaski County’s final day of early voting before Super Tuesday. According to the Pulaski County Election Commission’s website, over 23,800 people cast their ballots early.  Terri Hollingsworth, the Circuit and County Clerk of Pulaski County, says the numbers are a little lower than in previous primary years.  

“It’s just slightly lower than the last few…in 2016 and 2018, but we still want people to urge their family and friends to get out and vote. It’s just such an important part of being a citizen in this state, the city and in this country,” Hollingsworth said.

election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansans visiting the Clinton Presidential Center on Monday will have the opportunity to register to vote, thanks to a partnership with the Pulaski County Circuit and County Clerk. According to a news release, volunteers will help Arkansas residents complete their registration and check registration status.

Terri Hollingsworth is the Pulaski County Circuit and County clerk. She says the county selected this day because the Clinton Center offers free admission on President’s Day and tends to get a lot of visitors.