12 HOURS TO VOTE
Polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., but if there are lines at any of the state's 2,400-plus precincts at 7:30 p.m., those precincts will remain open until everyone there has had a chance to vote. Counties can start reporting votes when their tallies are ready. They do not have to wait until everyone in the state has voted.
Tuesday's election will be the first statewide test of Arkansas' new voter-ID law. The law requires voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot, and was approved by the Republican-led Legislature last year over Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto. The requirement took effect Jan. 1, and has been used in a handful of local elections so far. A Pulaski County judge has declared the law unconstitutional, but said he wouldn't block its enforcement during the primary.
Arkansas has two open U.S. House races this year: Tom Cotton, a Republican, has given up his south Arkansas seat to pursue a U.S. Senate post currently held by Mark Pryor, a Democrat. In central Arkansas, Tim Griffin is leaving Congress, and a spot on the powerful Ways and Means Committee, with the hope of becoming lieutenant governor. He has said he wants a job that will let him spend more time with his family. Republicans have contested primaries for both House seats.
A number of state legislators who voted in favor of a modified Medicaid expansion plan known as the "private option" drew opposition from candidates who believe that support is tantamount to a full endorsement of the federal health care law. How those candidates fare could say a lot about how the private option plan fares at the Legislature next January.
A Pulaski County circuit judge recently tossed out Arkansas' 10-year-old ban on gay marriage, and the state Supreme Court subsequently put the judge's ruling on hold, but there's no way for voters to take out their frustrations at the polls this year. Circuit Judge Chris Piazza, who made the ruling, didn't draw an opponent this year and will be re-elected to a 6-year term Tuesday. Justice Karen Baker, the only current member of the court up for re-election, was unopposed in her bid to return to the state Supreme Court.