Early Voting Begins in Arkansas

May 8, 2006 – Posted at 4:52 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- The primary election isn't for another two weeks, but on Monday the ballots began flowing in. Voters lined up early in the morning across the state for the two week period before the election known as 'early voting.'

It offers those who might not be able to make it to polls on Election Day the opportunity to have their say in local government. Early voting is a growing trend that is escalated to the point where turnout is now higher than some precincts.

"I think it is the convenience of it because it is easy access to get in and out and some of the other polling places aren't as easy. People can take care of other business here at the courthouse," said Greene County Voter Representative Pat Pillow.

Lt. Governor Candidate Tim Wooldridge of Paragould was one of the first to cast his vote Tuesday morning. Others like voter Roy Greenwood are usually busy on Election Day, running polling places or occupied with their jobs.

"It keeps from being such a long line on Election Day and we are expecting a humongous turnout," said Greenwood.

While turnouts around Northeastern Arkansas were high Tuesday morning, not everything went exactly to plan. Most counties in Arkansas still don't have their voting machines up and running and are forced to use paper ballots. In some cases, printers have not supplied a sufficient amount of ballots.

"It's the printing company because they are doing several of the counties and I think they bit off more than they could chew," said Craighead County Clerk Nancy Nelms.

That shortage of ballots is forcing election officials to send home voters because they don't have the materials available for them to vote.

"If we run out of ballots, that is all we can do until we get more in," said Nelms.

Check with your county courthouse on ballot availability before making a trip to vote.

Go to KAIT's Election Connection for more information about the upcoming races. This portion of our website will continue to be updated through the May 23rd primary.