Governor Hutchinson's Weekly Address- Voting in the Age of COVID-19
LITTLE ROCK – The leaders of the major political parties in Arkansas are united in their determination to assure everyone can cast their ballot in November safely and securely.
Under state law, a voter who can’t vote in person on Election Day because of travel, illness, or physical disability may cast an absentee ballot.
Secretary of State John Thurston has said a health concern because of COVID-19 is a qualifying reason to vote absentee. In other words, anyone who fears that going to a polling place on November 3rd will put his or her health at risk may request an absentee ballot.
In the midst of the national discussion about safely voting in the age of COVID-19, Secretary Thurston, Democrat Party Chairman Michael John Gray, and Republican Party Chairman Doyle Webb joined me during a news conference in a show of unity. Many Arkansans wondered what the general election in Arkansas would look like this year. Secretary Thurston assured Arkansas that it will look like every other election except that voters may be wearing a mask and gloves. Hand sanitizer will be at polls in abundance, paid for with money from the federal CARES Act, as well as disposable stylus pens for your signature and vote.
Information about absentee voting is on the Secretary of State’s website. The most important thing to know is that in order to vote, you must be a registered voter. If you are registering to vote, you must submit your application at least thirty days before the election.
You may apply for an absentee ballot on line or in person. If you apply in person, you must apply by the close of business the day before the election. To apply by mail or online, your application must be submitted seven days before the election.
Early voting in person at designated polls is allowed two weeks before the election.
Election Day 2020 will be the same but a little bit different. Whether you vote in person, early, or absentee, vote. The leaders of Arkansas’s two primary political parties agree that every vote matters. They have shown that through their agreement on absentee voting. Whatever our disagreements, we find a way to the solution that is best for all Arkansans.