BY LEANN DILBECK –
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.”
Harrison addressed an issue that caused great confusion during the last election, “During the elections in 2014, there was much confusion over voters being required to show photo ID. The law changed a couple of times making it very hard for both voters and poll workers to know what was expected. Photo ID is no longer required in order to be able to vote. However, it is a state law that poll workers ask each and every voter to show ID prior to voting. If a voter does not have ID with them, they will not be denied the right to vote. A notation will be made next to their name that they did not provide ID and they will be allowed to vote.” Voters are also required by law to state their name and address for verification purposes. “If you have had an address change or a name change, please contact the County Clerk’s Office (479-394-8123) to update your voter registration record prior to Election Day so that when you go vote you will encounter a delay.”
Due to the President’s Day holiday on February 15, early voting will actually begin on Tuesday, February 16, 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 Monday through Friday 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 20 and February 27. There will be no early voting for this upcoming election in the County Clerk’s Office.
If you are not a registered voter and wish to vote in the March 1st Presidential Primary Election, the deadline to register is Monday, February 1. You may register by coming to the office of the Polk County Clerk and completing a Voter Registration Application Form or when you renew your driver’s license at the Revenue Office.
Important polling location information, as well as a complete list, will be included in next week’s issue of The Pulse.