BY LEANN DILBECK
Normally, early voting would begin 15 days prior to the election; however, this year, early voting will begin on Tuesday, February 16. Arkansas Law States that early voting shall not be available on state or county holidays. Monday, February 15 is President’s Day; therefore, early voting will begin Tuesday, February 16. Early voting is held at the Polk County Office Complex at 606 Pine Street in Mena, commonly referred to as the “old hospital.” Hours for early voting will be each weekday at 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 20th and Saturday, February 27. There will be no early for this election in the County Clerk’s office.
Election Day polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. There has been one change in polling locations. Precinct 2 voters who previously voted at the Union Mission Multi-Purpose Building on Janssen Street will now be voting at 9th Street Ministries at 306 9th Street in Mena. This is a permanent change for Precinct 2. If you do not know where to vote on Election Day, you can call the County Clerk’s office at 479-394-8123 to verify the proper polling location prior to Election Day. Polling places for Election Day are as follows:
Precinct 1: Fire Station on Mena Street
Precinct 2: 9th Street Ministries at 306 9th Street
Precinct 3: Fire Station on DeQueen Street
Shady Grove: Shady Grove Fire Department
Acorn: Acorn High School
Ink: Concord Baptist Church
Board Camp: Board Camp Baptist Church
Cherry Hill: Cherry Hill Methodist Church
Big Fork: Big Fork Community Center
Dallas Valley: Dallas Valley Fire Station
Rocky: Mountain Fork Church
Potter: Potter Fire Station
Hatfield: Hatfield Town Hall
Cove: Cove Town Hall
Vandervoort: Vandervoort Community Center
Wickes: Wickes Town Hall
Grannis: Grannis Town Hall
Absentee ballot requests are now being accepted in the County Clerk’s office by calling 394-8123 to request an absentee application. The County Clerk’s Office cannot mail an absentee ballot until they receive an absentee ballot application from the voter. The deadline for the County Clerk’s Office to mail an absentee ballot is Tuesday, February 22, so if you wish to receive an absentee ballot by mail, you must request your ballot prior to that date.
If you have recently registered to vote or changed your address and did not receive a voter ID card in the mail, you should call the County Clerk’s Office to verify your voter registration status prior to Super Tuesday, March 1.
Super Tuesday is fast approaching. During the 2015 Legislative Session, the legislature passed a bill moving the Presidential Primary and Non-Partisan Judicial General Election to March 1 for this year. The purpose of this Primary Election is for each party to elect their nominee that will then appear on the General Election Ballot in November.
In just a few weeks when voters head to the polls to vote on Super Tuesday (March 1), they will be asked which ballot they wish to vote. They will have 3 ballots to choose from: Republican Primary Ballot, Democratic Primary Ballot, or a Non-Partisan Judicial Ballot. Polk County Clerk Terri Harrison said, “Many times voters are confused by the option of a Non-Partisan Judicial General Election Ballot, voters mistakenly think this is where Independent candidates appear. Independent candidates will not appear on any ballot until the November General Election. The Non-Partisan Judicial General Ballot is for judicial races only such as Supreme Court Justice races and District or Circuit Court Judges. Those races will also appear on the Party Primary Ballots. Several sample ballots will be available at each polling place and you are strongly encouraged to review the ballots prior to getting in line to vote in order to determine which ballot you want.” Harrison added that sample ballots may also be obtained by contacting her office prior to Election Day or by visiting www.voterview.org. “When you go to this website, you will click on the tab that says registration information. You will then need to key in your name and date of birth and click search. It will pull up your voter registration record. You can check it to verify that everything is still correct. Below that, there will be a section that says ‘sample ballots.’ You can view each ballot to see what races will appear on each ballot so when you go to the polls, you will know which ballot you want to request. If you find any error on your registration information, please contact my office prior to Election Day.”
After receiving numerous requests from listeners and readers regarding each of the Sheriff’s candidates positions on the issues facing the Polk County Detention Center, The Pulse posed the questions. Their responses are included on pages 12-14 of this issue.