County clerks prepare for onslaught of early voters

CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) – Long lines are expected to greet voters when early voting begins in Arkansas on Monday, October 22.

With less than three weeks until Election Day, the Craighead County clerk and local election commission have almost completed their preparations to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Nancy Nelms, the county clerk, and her staff have spent months preparing for a heavy turnout of early voters.

The prep work continued Thursday, as Nelms sent out the last round of voter cards to more than 1,000 newly registered people. She also prepared the last few absentee ballots to send out in time for the election.

"Monday will be a big day because everybody wants to be first to vote," Nelms said, "and the first week is not usually as busy as the last week. If you wait to the last two or three days, you'll be waiting in line probably 15, 20 minutes, 30 at the latest."

Nelms expects the number of votes cast early in the next two weeks will equal at least half the amount of votes submitted solely on November 6, Election Day.

"It's picked up over the years," Nelms said about early voting turnout.

"It's something that so many people have fought and died for," she added, "and I just think everybody should vote."

Early voting will be available at two locations starting Monday in Craighead County: the Craighead County Courthouse Election Annex, located at 315 W. Jefferson in Jonesboro, and the Lake City Courthouse, located at 107 Cobean Blvd. in Lake City, Ark.

These two polling sites will stay open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the two Saturdays before Election Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

These hours apply to all early voting locations throughout the state, but people should contact their local county clerk to find out specific polling sites.

Before the early voting rush, Nelms also advises people to take a look online at sample ballots so that they know what they are voting on and how they are voting in advance. She says that will help move the process along much quicker and create less waiting time.

The Arkansas Secretary State's Office provides sample ballots here.

Copyright 2012 KAIT. All rights reserved.