Early Voting Begins Today in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas party leaders and election officials say an earlier presidential primary date and ballots featuring Arkansas' former governor and the state's former first lady could boost turnout in next week's presidential primary.

Early voting begins today in advance of next week's presidential primary, which was moved up from the third Tuesday in May when party primaries for other offices are held.  Officials said the earlier date would give the state a greater say in the parties' nomination battles and attract more campaign dollars to Arkansas.

So far, the earlier primary looks like it will only succeed in one of those goals.

With former Governor Mike Huckabee on the Republican ballot and former Arkansas first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Democrat side, the other candidates have largely ignored the state and left it to the contenders with state ties.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)