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Washington County expands early vote locations

by Tom Sissom | December 5, 2019 at 1:04 a.m.
"I Voted" stickers for early voters Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, at the Benton County Election Commission office in Rogers.

FAYETTEVILLE -- Washington County voters will have four additional polling places available during early voting for the March 3 primary election.

The sites are part of what one election official called a pilot program to expand early voting in the county. The polls will be open for one or two days during the two-week early voting period instead of the full two weeks of early voting.

Early voting

Washington County’s Election Commission on Wednesday approved early vote sites for the March 3 primary election. Jennifer Price, executive director, said the list of early vote sites for the election, with the dates and hours each will be open, will be posted at www.co.washington.ar.us along with other election information.

Source: Staff report

The Election Commission unanimously approved the plan Wednesday.

Early voting will be available Feb. 21 and Feb. 22 at the Springdale Civic Center, 2323 S. Old Missouri Road, according to Jennifer Price, commission executive director. The Civic Center won't be a vote center March 3. Vote centers allow registered voters in Washington County to cast their votes at any location. In the 2016 primary, 47,100 votes were cast.

Price said the Civic Center gives Springdale area voters the option of voting early on a Saturday. Price said the Civic Center is near the Springdale Rodeo Center, which is typically one of the busier voting centers on election day.

"The rodeo is our second biggest site, with 1,300 to 1,400 votes cast on election day," Price said.

Price said Sequoyah United Methodist Church in Fayetteville is normally the busiest voter center with between 1,700 and 1,800 votes cast on election days.

Max Deitchler, the Democratic Party's representative on the commission, said the Civic Center site could relieve the crowding at the Rodeo Center if voters get word of the new location.

"The rodeo is always packed," Deitchler said. "Everybody knows about it."

Price said she plans to open three locations for limited early voting during the second week of early voting. All three are election day vote centers, she said.

The Lincoln Community Center, 112 N. Main St., will be open Feb. 27 and Feb. 28. The polling place gives voters on the west side of Washington County an alternative to voting in Prairie Grove, Fayetteville or Springdale.

The Elmdale Baptist Church, 1700 W. Huntsville Ave. in Springdale, will be open Feb. 28 and Feb. 29, Price said. The Elmdale location will be a Saturday vote center for the Springdale area, Price said.

The commission also approved Price's recommendation to open a vote center in Goshen on Feb. 28. That vote center, at the First United Methodist Church, 122 E. Arkansas 45, will serve voters on the east side of Washington County.

Bill Ackerman, one of two Republican party representatives on the commission, said the March 3 election should give the commission some information to consider when evaluating the usefulness of expanded early voting locations. He said the evaluation process will probably extend through next year's Nov. 3 general election as well.

"We are willing to test it in a couple of elections to get the hard data we need to make a decision," Ackerman said.

NW News on 12/05/2019

Print Headline: Washington County expands early vote locations

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