Election Officials Study Early Voting Turnout for Primary

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas election officials have reported steady turnout on the first day of early voting for next week's presidential primaries.

Initial reports to the secretary of state's office from about half of Arkansas' 75 counties yesterday showed at least 7,000 people had voted early.  Natasha Naragon, a spokeswoman for the secretary of state's office, said about 8,200 people have requested absentee ballots for next week's election.

Arkansas' primary 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.

Secretary of State Charlie Daniels said he expects higher turnout for this year's presidential primaries than for those in previous years.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)