It’s National Disability Voter Registration Week! Here are the basics of how to get registered and vote.
If you’re not registered, then you cannot vote. If you don’t vote, then you’re missing out on your chance to choose the people who represent you in government and shape the policies that affect you every day. Most importantly, if you are able to and don’t vote, then people are more likely to ignore your political opinions.
Before you can vote in any election, you must register. You can register to vote at any time, but you must be registered at least 30 days in advance of the election you want to vote in. If you’ve never done that before, don’t worry: we’re here to help. The first thing to do is to make sure that you are eligible to vote. In order to be eligible to vote in Arkansas you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be a United States citizen;
- You must be at least 18 years of age by Election Day;
- You must be a resident of Arkansas;
- You must not be a convicted felon (or have completely discharged your sentence or been pardoned);
- You must not vote in any other jurisdiction;
- You must not have had a guardian appointed by the court after October 1, 2001, or if you have had a guardian appointed then you must must have had your right to vote specifically preserved or restored by the court.
If you meet these requirements, the next thing you’ll need is an Arkansas Voter Registration Application. You can find the online form here: https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/uploads/elections/ArkansasVoterRegistrationApplication.pdf.
If you don’t have a way to print out the online version, you can find paper copies of the form at the following locations:
- Your local County Clerk’s Office;
- State Revenue offices;
- Public libraries;
- Public assistance agency offices;
- Disability agency offices;
- Military recruitment offices;
- Arkansas National Guard offices.
If you don’t have any luck getting an application at any of these places, give us a call at 800-482-1174 and we’ll mail one to you. Once you have filled out the application, you can either stamp it and drop it in the mail or drop it off at your local County Clerk’s office. If you need help with completing the application, there is a section of the form where the person who is helping you can enter their information.
After you have sent in your application, you should receive a voter registration card in the mail after a few weeks. You do not need to have this card with you when you go to vote. If you have not received a card and want to check and see if you are registered, you can either call your County Clerk or check online here: https://www.voterview.ar-nova.org/VoterView.
Once you send in the application and get your registration card in the mail, you are done. You don’t need to re-register for every different election. If you move, change your name, or change your political party affiliation, you will need to fill out the application again with the new information and mail it in the same as before to keep your registration updated.
For more information, check out our Voting FAQ, available here: https://disabilityrightsar.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Voting-FAQ.pdf. If you have further questions about voting, or if you aren’t sure you’re eligible, feel free to reach out to us on social media, via email, or by phone at 800-482-1174. We’ll do our best to answer any questions you might have.
Christian Adcock is an Advocate at Disability Rights Arkansas.