Vote! Vote! Vote! Election season is coming up, and now is the time to get registered to vote. In the 2019 Arkansas General Assembly, my colleagues and I passed several pieces of new legislation that will affect the upcoming 2020 election.

On March 3, 2020, Arkansas will join 13 other states in holding the preferential primary. There are only four other states holding a primary prior to March 3, 2020. Early preferential primary voting for Arkansas will begin on February 17, 2020. The deadline for voter registration for the primary is February 3, 2020.

With Act 545, the Assembly has stipulated that preferential primaries will be held in March on years in which there is a United States presidential election. In years in which there is a gubernatorial race, primaries will be held in May. Since the official primary date for Arkansas is March 3, 2020, this will also include the general election for non-partisan candidates such as judges and prosecutors.

Previously, fiscal sessions have been held on the second Monday in February on even-numbered years. Act 545 also provides that because of the primary, the General Assembly will meet for a fiscal session on the second Wednesday of April instead.

I have also included additional information on legislation passed this year that I think is important to share with you.

Act 199 allows polling officials at sites exceeding fifteen (15) or more ballot styles to post sample ballots in bound volumes and on public websites.

Previously, voters have only been allowed five minutes to mark their ballot. Act 664 allows voters additional time. Voters will now have 10 minutes to mark his or her ballot.

Act 684 provides that voters can now use digital photographic identification cards for voter verification.

Act 949 allows the county board of election commissioners to reduce polling sites in cities with less than 5,000 voters. If this affects you, please be prepared before election day to know where your polling site is so that you are organized and your vote counts.

Also important to our election process is the involvement of our youth. Act 328 allows high school students to volunteer as election officials.

I encourage you to be mindful and to get involved in this election process. Your voice matters and your vote counts. Think of all the legislation that has and will affect you, your family, and your community. When you vote, you are selecting leaders who voice your concerns and your wishes. It matters in our local communities as well as the National stage. You have an opportunity to make your voice count. I will continue to share pertinent voting information in the coming weeks.

Finally, I like to share informative items that constituents might find useful. If you have questions about any legislation or the legislative process, feel free to contact me via email at [email protected] or by phone at 501-682-6211.