• Sara Doan, Northeast Arkansas News

First day of early voting in Arkansas kicks off today

JONESBORO, Ark- Despite the rain showers and coronavirus, hundreds of Arkansans showed up for the first day of early voting.

All to cast their ballots for the November General Election.

“It’s been great, everyone’s been very patient and very kind, and we’ve gotten everyone through,” says Craighead County Election Coordinator, Jennifer Clack. “People are still waiting under an hour, even with the line as long as it is. So, we’re very pleased with that, and we hope that will continue throughout the day. So right now, we’re doing good, just getting everybody in and out as fast as possible. I’m glad the rain didn’t deter anyone."

Polls opened at 8 am, but lines started to double wrap the election annex before 7:30.

Clack says they have 18 voting machines that can be use at once.

As of 11 am, the county already had over 400 ballots submitted from the election annex and, Lake City polling center.

With the final count today expected to be in the thousands.

One man says he came to early vote because he was hesitant about mail-in ballots.

“’Cause it’s important. It’s important for this whole election, it’s important,” says early voter Bo Chandler. “I just feel that it’s time to get ‘er done and, I don’t believe in the mail-in ballot, so I just wanted to come and make sure I got it done in person.”

Clack says even with the virus, they are prepared.

The county received large amounts of PPE from cares act funding and almost $60,000 in grant funding to help with the November election.

While masks are not required for voters, all poll workers must wear a mask and face shield when working.

“So, we do have set six-foot spacing inside the lobby,” says Clack. “Outside yeah, we’re a little less containment outside obviously but, we’re trying to keep people spaced in the line as well. Obviously, if you’re a couple or family; you can be together, but we’re trying to keep that line spaced out so everyone’s as safe as possible.”

Early voting will continue Monday- Friday from 8 am to 6 pm and Saturday’s from 10 am to 4 pm.


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