The number of absentee ballot applications requested in White County had topped 1,000 as of Wednesday afternoon, increased to 1,003, according to Tara McKnight, the county’s election coordinator.
“We anticipated this just with the COVID and stuff like that, people not wanting to get out,” said McKnight, who noted that the number of absentee ballot applications usually “roughly run between 600 to 700, give or take, and a lot of it depends on what is on the ballot. If you have a lot of local issues, I think you will have more turn out.”
Friday is the first day, McKnight said, that the White County Clerk’s Office can start sending out the UOCAVA (the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act) ballots to give those voters enough time to receive them and get them back. Then, “on Monday we will work on getting the absentees ready to go out.”
“We are going to be gung-ho on getting the ballots out as fast as we receive them,” she said concerning absentee ballot application requests.
The deadline to register to vote is Oct. 5. McKnight said residents who are eligible can call the clerk’s office, mail or email the information in or they can stop by the office at 315 N. Spruce St. The email to use is firstname.lastname@example.org
To request an absentee ballot by mail, the deadline is Oct. 27. The first day for early voting is Oct. 19. Absentee ballots must be returned by election day Nov. 3.
For voters wanting to get a look at their general election ballot, White County Clerk Carla Ervin said it is up on voterview.org However, she said the site still has the White County Courthouse listed as an early voting site when it is not. Ervin said it will be corrected.
Because of social distancing constraints due to COVID-19, the early voting sites will be the Carmichael Community Center at 801 S. Elm St. and the White County Cooperative Extension Service Office on 2400 Landing Road, near the White County Fairgrounds.
Election night results also will be available to be viewed at whitecounty.ar.gov/ electionnight.
Ervin also said residents have answered the call to apply for poll worker positions that came available with some former workers not participating this year due to COVID-19.
“We have had a huge turnout. We’ve got 80 people waiting to possibly be poll workers. We have a list,” she said. “We are probably going to have to have more poll worker training before the election.”
McKnight said by law she has to have four poll workers at every site and White County has 32 polling locations.
“Of course at the bigger sites, we have anywhere from six to eight poll workers. It just varies per polling location,” McKnight said. “Some of them can get by with four. Beebe City Hall needs at least eight workers.”
There is also talk about the county’s Information Technology Department coming up with a way for voters out in the parking lot to be notified when they can come into the extension office to vote during early voting. Ervin said it is possible this will be used and would work if everybody wanted to use their phone, but there are some who do not want to use their phone. The legality of using this type of notification system is being looked into, she said.