When I first became a voter at 18, I didn’t even realize there were other elections during the year aside from the general election in November. I wanted to make a simple info sheet that consolidated everything you’d need to know before hitting the polls. The information below has been taken directly from the Arkansas Secretary of State website.
What is a primary?
A primary is a direct, statewide process of selecting candidates or delegates for a given elective office. The results are used to determine the nominees of each political party before the general election (November 6). There are two types of primaries:
- In an open primary, all registered voters can vote for any candidate, regardless of their political affiliation.
- In a closed primary, voters may vote only for the candidates of the party with which they’re registered.
For the 2018 Arkansas State Preferential Primary election, early voting runs from May 7 – May 21. The actual election day is May 22. As you can imagine, the polls will be FULL on that day so it’s in your best interest to vote early. Below is a simple walkthrough to help you know what to expect. At the polling place, a volunteer will go through all the steps to voting with you.
Do I need to register to vote?
- This your first time voting
- You changed your name since you last voted (ex: marriage)
- You moved to a new address since you last voted
- You are changing political parties
To register to vote in the State of Arkansas, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be an Arkansas resident
- Be age 18 or turn 18 on or before the next election
- Not be a convicted felon whose sentence has not been discharged or pardoned
- Not be presently adjudged as mentally incompetent as to your ability to vote by a court of competent jurisdiction
Note: You must submit your application to an official voter registration agency or mail it 30 days (or less) BEFORE the election you’d like to vote in
Fill out a paper Voter Registration Application from one of the following locations:
- Your local county clerk
- The Arkansas Secretary of State Elections Division: 1-800-482-1127
- Local revenue or DMV office
- Public library
- Disability agency
- Military recruitment office
- Request an application through the mail (USPS)
- Print a Form:
Where do I submit my voter registration application?
How do I know if I’m registered?
In a few weeks, you will receive your voter registration card in the mail. You can check your status online or you can call the county clerk.
Who am I voting for?
Ballotpedia is a great source for finding basic candidate information for the upcoming elections.
What if I’m out of the state or physically unable to leave my house to vote?
Make sure you’re qualified to vote an absentee ballot. You (or your designated bearer) must submit your application, pick up your ballot, and deliver the voted ballot to the county clerk before close of business the day BEFORE the election.
If you’re in the military, see the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Military Voting Information page.
Arkansas voters are now required to verify their voter registration by showing a document or ID card that:
- Shows your name and photo
- Is issued by the US, state of Arkansas, or an accredited postsecondary education institution in Arkansas
- Isn’t expired or expired no more than four years before date of election
- Ex: U.S. passport, Arkansas driver’s license, University student ID, etc.
- Make sure you are registered to vote and take a look at a sample ballot.
- Find your polling place.
- Bring the necessary ID.
- At the polling place, you will be asked to verbally verify your name, date of birth, and address.
- A volunteer will ask you to choose your ballot (Democratic, Republic, or Non-partisan) and will hand you a physical ballot which you’ll be instructed to insert into the electronic polling booth.
- On the electronic polling booth touchscreen, select desired candidates and review choices before printing on ballot.
- Submit your printed ballot and take pride in having done your civic duty!