Election season is here in Arkansas, and state residents who wish to cast a ballot must first register to vote. Here are the basics on getting registered.
Who is eligible to register to vote?
A person must meet three basic criteria to be eligible to vote in Arkansas:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Be an Arkansas resident
- Be 18 or turn 18 on or before the next election
There are two criteria that can disqualify residents, though. Josh Bridges, an elections systems analyst within the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office, said people who are presently judged by a court as mentally incompetent are ineligible to register to vote.
Convicted felons are also not eligible to register to vote unless their sentence has been pardoned or completed.
Sarah Everett, staff attorney with the ACLU of Arkansas, said felons who have completed their sentences can restore their right to vote by taking documentation to their local county clerk showing that all time has been served and all fines, court costs and restitution have been paid.
What documents are needed to register to vote?
Applications are also available at county clerk’s offices, as well as most public libraries and revenue offices, among other places.
No matter how a voter gets their application, it must be mailed or hand-delivered to their county clerk’s office or mailed to the secretary of state's office to complete their registration.
No other documents are needed at the time of registration, though applicants will have to provide either a social security number, driver’s license number, state ID number or swear they do not have any of those numbers.
Voters can choose to register with a party or remain unaffiliated. Registering with a party does not affect which primary a voter can cast a ballot in.
What is the deadline to register to vote?
Voters can register any time of year, but to be eligible to vote in a given election, an individual must be registered 30 days before election day. For the 2022 primary in Arkansas, the deadline to register is April 25.
Applications sent via mail that are postmarked April 25 will be considered on-time and the resident will be eligible to vote in the primary.
Bridges said he urges voters to mail their application as soon as possible because the postal system often experiences delays.
How can someone check their registration status?
New applicants will receive notice from their local county clerk that they have successfully registered, Bridges said. If someone is concerned about their application or registration status, they can contact their county clerk.
The state also has a website, https://www.voterview.ar-nova.org/voterview, which will show whether an individual is registered.