Paper or Touch-Screen? Arkansas Voters Go Paper in Early Voting

OCTOBER 26, 2006 - Posted at 7:57 a.m. CDT

LITTLE ROCK, AR (AP) - Election officials say that, in counties where they're offered a choice in early voting for the November 7 elections, Arkansans are opting for paper ballots.

In Craighead County, voters are given the option of using either the touch-screen machines or voting on a paper ballot in early voting. Out of nearly 1,500 early votes cast as of yesterday afternoon, just over 1,100 of them were on paper ballots.

Kellie Thomas, a deputy clerk for the county, said officials aren't pushing either kind of ballot, but simply ask voters which they prefer. She said many people won't even talk about it, and just say they want paper.

A similar split has been seen in Pike County, where 70 people have chosen paper ballots, while nine had used a touch-screen machine as of yesterday afternoon.

In Pulaski County, the state's most populous, early voting is being conducted only on touch-screen machines, as it has been since 2000. Election director Susan Inman said the county's paper-ballot scanning machines can handle only a limited number of ballot types.

As of yesterday morning, more than 52-hundred Pulaski County residents had cast ballots in early voting.

Overall, counties have reported few problems as early voting throughout the state began Monday.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)