Early voting for runoff ongoing, rule change for absentee voting due to COVID-19

"Today is opening day of absentee voting. We already have one vote on our central precinct...
"Today is opening day of absentee voting. We already have one vote on our central precinct absentee voting machine," said Tracy Howard, Director of Elections for the city of Radford.(WDBJ7)
Updated: Mar. 25, 2020 at 8:39 AM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) - Early voting for the primary runoff election begins Tuesday amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

The Arkansas Secretary of State’s office said early voting will be available during the County Clerk Office’s normal business hours March 24 through March 30.

In Craighead County, early voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Craighead County Courthouses in Jonesboro and Lake City.

Polls will be closed Saturday, March 28, and Sunday, March 29.

Governor Asa Hutchinson issued an executive order suspending three provisions of the law when it comes to elections due to COVID-19.

The first suspends the law on emergency polling site changes. Counties will be able to consolidate to as few as one polling site for in-person voting on Election Day.

The state said the decision can be made up to three days before the election, as long as the notice is posted at polling sites that would have been used.

The second provision tackles the law requiring qualified voters who wish to vote absentee be unavoidable absent or unable to attend an election due to illness or physical disability.

All qualified voters entitled to vote in the runoff will be permitted to ask for an absentee ballot

The third suspends a provision of the law which requires absentee ballots application to be sent by mail, fax, or email by March 24.

Any absentee voter submitting their application seven days before election day will get an absentee ballot.

Absentee ballots must be returned by mail by 7:30 p.m. on March 31.

Early voting and absentee ballots will be counted at 3 p.m. on March 31.

For an absentee ballot, click here.

The runoff election taking place in Craighead County is for the Republican nomination for State House District 53 between Cole Peck and Lake City Mayor Jon Milligan.

Per recommendations from the Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, voters should use appropriate social distancing measures when voting.

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