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Arkansas Election Board provides guidance for runoff elections amid virus

by Michael R. Wickline | March 16, 2020 at 11:03 a.m.
In this 2014 file photo, a roll of "I Voted" stickers sits on a ballot box at a Little Rock, Ark. polling place.

The state Board of Election Commissions Monday decided to provide guidance to the 12 counties holding March 31 runoff elections for strategies that they may implement to mitigate any negative effects of the coronavirus on their elections.

These strategies include consolidating polling sites; notifying voters of their option to request an absentee ballot; refraining from using at-risk poll workers in their runoff elections; and ensuring poll workers take appropriate measures while operating polling sites.

The board’s letter to the counties states that state law does not permit the county board of election commissioners, county clerk or county judge to unilaterally cancel or postpone in-person voting.

[CORONAVIRUS: Click here for our complete coverage » arkansasonline.com/coronavirus]

The board also decided to ask the board’s staff in consultation with the governor and attorney general, to advise the board what additional steps can and should be taken to ensure voters, poll workers and candidates are safe and the current situation doesn’t have "a negative impact on Arkansans’ ability to exercise their voting rights without fear.”

Runoff elections are scheduled on March 31 for Arkansas, Benton, Conway, Craighead, Garland, Grant, Greene, Hot Spring, Jefferson, Lonoke, Saline and White counties, according to the board.

Read Tuesday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

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