Early voting draws big crowd

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - One week from today is election day but many are choosing to cast their ballots early.

According to the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office, as of four o'clock on Tuesday, nearly 18-Thousand people have cast early ballots.

Since early voting began last week, more than 144-thousand people have voted early.

So who's voting early? And why?

I asked Sammie Curtis why did he vote early? "Keep from standing in line, where I vote at."

Sammie Curtis is a typical early voter. His normal polling place is at Walnut Street Baptist. At the Craighead County Election Annex, there's very little standing in line.

Curtis, "I can get out and vote. I don't like standing in line all day."

There is a line at the election annex. The roped off area leads those up to sign in, grab a paper ballot if they so choose or move on to the voting machines. This year they have 6 machines instead of 4 as in previous years.

Craighead County Clerk Nancy Nelms said they just don't have room for any more as long as they keep using the paper ballots.

"You won't have any privacy in your vote if we set up any more, but we do have a few more. That's made it go a little faster."

As voters came and went many of the comments I received were very similar.

"It's a beautiful day and we wanted to avoid the rush."

"Fewer crowds and want to get it done. Don't want to miss it on the second."

Wanda Rose and her daughter Donna Austin also early voted fitting in well with the majority of voters I observed.

One of the things I noticed  at the election annex was the majority of voters were senior citizens.

Nelms confirmed my observation. When they check in her workers noticed that; "The majority, 8 out of 10 are 50 or above."

Robert Anderson explained it like this. "It's less complicated for the older people I think."

Nelms, "When they need some assistance they don't feel as embarrassed about asking it at early voting."

Anderson, "It's easy to get to. You don't have the long wait like you do in others some times."

Nelms, "The way the room is set up it is easier for someone in a wheelchair or a walker. The floors are flatter and we have the handicapped entrance."

Not all of the thousands who have voted in Jonesboro so far are seniors but there is a definite trend toward early voting. So much so Nelms said more early vote now than vote on November 2.

"But I don't know that it has done what it was intention was was to get more people to vote."

I still think I'll wait till November 2nd.

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