BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The November elections are getting closer, and Arkansas leaders reiterated COVID-19 can be used as an excuse to request an absentee ballot. Benton County’s election coordinator said voting will be safe and secure regardless of how someone decides to vote.
Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R) announced he’s signing an executive order on absentee voting, noting the order will speed up the counting process as poll workers face the reality of tallying a record number.
Voter fraud’s a topic being talked about across the country as states use mail-in or absentee voting during the pandemic. Dr. Andrew Dowdle is a political scientist for the University of Arkansas, and he said there are a few isolated incidents of fraud, but widespread voter fraud is a myth. Kim Dennison, Benton County’s election coordinator, said her crew is prepared to keep elections and voters safe.
“The commissioners are very thorough, and they make sure they’re the ones verifying those signatures, and it’s not somebody else,” Dennison said. “They know everything’s legit coming into the night.”
Steps to request an absentee ballot, as listed on the Sec. of State’s website:
- Option 1: Request to have an absentee ballot application sent to you by contacting your county clerk in the county where you are registered to vote.
- Option 2: CLICK HERE to download and complete an absentee ballot application, then return this application to the county clerk in the county where you are registered to vote.
Deadlines for applications, as listed on the website:
- In Person: by close of business the day BEFORE the election
- By Designated Bearer or Administrator: by close of business the day BEFORE the election(Designated Bearer is anyone you choose to pick up or deliver your application or ballot)
- By Mail or by Electronic Means: by 7 days before the election
- By Authorized Agent: by 1:30 p.m. ON election day.The authorized agent must file with the County Clerk an affidavit from the administrative head of a hospital or nursing home located in this state verifying that the applicant is a patient of the hospital or long-term care or residential care facility licensed by the state and is thereby unable to vote on the election day at his or her regular polling site.