Drew County Republican Party chairman Diana Harton said there seems to be some confusion about the upcoming May primary elections. “We currently have two primaries underway, the Democrat primary and the Republican Primary,” she said. “After observing, and also getting a few phone calls I would like to clear up the confusion.”
Arkansas is an open primary state, meaning that voters may choose either primary when they go to their polling site.
“It does not matter how you have voted in the past or if you like to identify with one party over the other,” she said. “When you go in to vote the question the poll worker should ask you is: ‘Which primary do you wish to vote in?’ At that point the choice is yours. The poll worker should not encourage you in any way to choose one primary over the other. If you are looking for one specific candidate but are not sure which primary they are running in, then the poll worker should point to the sample ballots and let you choose the one you want.
“Under no circumstance should the poll worker tell you that you cannot vote in the primary you choose,” Harton said. “If you get your ballot and you do not see the candidates that you think should be on there then bring this to the attention of the poll worker before confirming your ballot.
“We live in the greatest country on earth and it is both an honor and a privilege to be able to vote for our elected officials. No one should be disenfranchised when they go to cast their votes. There are numerous places that you can go and check out the candidates platforms and voting records. Do your research and know your candidates. You have a voice. Let it be heard,” Harton said.
For more information on voting rights in the state of Arkansas go to the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.arkansas.gov.
Also, if you feel that something is mishandled at your polling site, contact the Drew County Clerk, Lyna Gulledge at (870) 460-6260 or one of the county’s three election commissioners, Delbert Farrar at (870) 367-7200, Wilma McNaughton at (870) 367-3698, or Bobby Hood at (870) 469-5143.
Early voting is under way through May 21 at the Drew County Court House. Primary election day is May 22. Please exercise your right to vote.