This year is a big year for voting, and Disability Rights Arkansas encourages everyone to exercise their right to vote! To minimize the chances that anyone will choose not to vote because they have a question about voting and are hesitant to ask, or don’t know who to pose their question(s) to, DRA has put together a list of frequently asked questions about voting:
- Can I register to vote?
You can register to vote in Arkansas if you:
-Are a citizen of the United States
-Are at least 18 years old by Election Day
-Are a resident of Arkansas
-Are not a convicted felon (or have completely discharged your sentence or been pardoned)
-Have not claimed the right to vote in any other jurisdiction
-Have not been adjudicated mentally incompetent after October 1, 2001
- Where can I register to vote?
You can register to vote by mail, at your local County Clerk’s office, or at any of the following locations:
-State Revenue Offices, Driver Services
-Public Libraries or the Arkansas State Library
-Public Assistance Agencies
-Military Recruitment offices
-Arkansas National Guard offices
- Do I have to show a form of identification to register to vote?
No, you do not have to provide identification in order to vote in Arkansas.
- When should I register to vote?
You can register to vote at any time, but in order to vote in an election you must be registered at least 30 days before that election.
- For first-time voters – how do I know if I am registered to vote?
Once you register to vote, you will receive a voter registration card in the mail. This is proof that you are now a registered voter. If this is not received within 30 days after registering, call your local County Clerk to confirm your registration.
- Voters – How do I know if I am registered to vote?
If you want to confirm that you are still registered to vote, you can always call your local County Clerk’s office.
- What if I move, or I have moved since I registered?
If you have moved since the last election, you must re-register.
- Do I need to show my voter registration card to vote?
No. As long as you are registered to vote you don’t need to have the card with you.
- Where do I vote?
Your precinct is determined by where you live and the polling site is assigned by your county election commission. Most local newspapers publish a list of polling sites within a few days prior to an election. If you received a Voter ID card from your county clerk, it may show your precinct. You can also find your location online at www.voterview.org.
- Can I take someone to help me vote?
If you need assistance, you may bring a person of your choosing to the polling site to help fill out your ballot. The person assisting you may not comment on, or interpret your choices. If you need assistance and don’t have anyone with you, you can ask for assistance and two poll workers will help you, one to assist and one to observe.
- What if my name does not appear on the list of voters when I’m at the polls, can I still vote?
Yes. In this situation you may still cast a provisional ballot. Do not leave without voting! The election official will provide you with written instructions on how to determine whether or not your vote was counted, and, if not, the reason your vote was not counted. In most cases, the election commission will mail you a notice.
- What is a provisional ballot?
A provisional ballot allows you to cast your vote, even if you are denied a regular ballot, due to:
-Your name not appearing on the voter rolls
-Your vote being challenged by a poll watcher
If you cast a provisional ballot for either reason, you will be given written instructions which tell you how to find out whether your vote was counted or not.
- What if my polling site is not accessible?
If your polling site is inaccessible, immediately contact your local County Clerk to make sure that you are given the right to cast your ballot. You can also call Disability Rights Arkansas or several other agencies:
-Disability Rights Arkansas, 800-482-1174
-Arkansas Secretary of State; Elections Division, 800-482-1127
-Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners, 800-411-6996
-American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas, 501-374-2660
- Is a polling site required to provide an accessible voting device, and if so, who can use it?
Every polling site should have at least one accessible voting device.
- Who is eligible for an absentee ballot?
In order to be eligible for an absentee/vote by mail ballot, you must meet at least one of the following criteria:
-You will be unavoidably absent from your polling site on Election Day, OR
-You will be unable to attend your polling site on Election Day due to illness or physical disability
-You are a member of the Uniformed Services or Merchant Marines, or the spouse or a dependent family member, and are away from your polling location due to the member’s active duty status
-A United States citizen whose residence is in Arkansas but is temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States
- How do I ask for an absentee ballot?
To receive an absentee ballot you need to request to have an application for one sent to you by contacting your County Clerk. You can also find the application online at sos.arkansas.gov
- What are the deadlines for absentee ballots?
-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. A 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
- Can I vote if awaiting a trial?
Yes. You are eligible to obtain an absentee ballot if you are awaiting arraignment or trial
- If I served time in prison, can I vote?
Yes, unless you have been convicted and are currently serving time in prison for this conviction
- If I haven’t graduated from high school yet, can I vote?
Yes. You must be registered to vote, at least 18 years old by Election Day, a United States citizen and a resident of Arkansas.
- If I don’t speak English, can I vote?
Yes. Before going to the polls, contact your County Clerk to make sure you will be able to get a ballot in your language.
- What if I live in a state facility, and no one will take me to the polls?
No one can take away your right to vote, but if you can’t find transportation (staff, family and/or friends are unwilling or unable to take you), then you will need to vote absentee.
Arkansas Secretary of State, Elections Division
Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners
American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas
Arkansas Independent Living Council
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