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Demand for absentee ballots up 500% in Pulaski County ahead of 2020 elections

Only 9,000 absentee ballots were budgeted for Pulaski County. Now, it's up in the air where that extra funding will come from to support the increased requests.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — We are getting closer to election time, and there's still a lot of questions about how absentee ballots will be process as the state still faces a coronavirus pandemic.

This time in 2016, the Pulaski County clerk only saw 1,500 absentee ballot requests. 

Right now, there are 10,000 and hundreds more coming in everyday.

"It's certainly a great thing to know that people want to participate in this democracy, but then it's a scary thing as well," said Pulaski County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth. "We're up to the point now where we are over the budgeted number that we had for 2016."

Only 9,000 absentee ballots were budgeted for Pulaski County. Now, it's up in the air where that extra funding will come from. 

"We do not have extra funds as of right now. That's certainly a conversation we are trying to have this week with the county judge as we look at our numbers and determine where in our budget to move some things around."

The clerk expects at least 20,000 total absentee requests for this election season.

RELATED: How to vote in Arkansas this November

For those that are voting via absentee, you should get your ballot by mid-September. 

You will receive an envelope with your ballot and another envelope inside. This will allow you to send the ballot back to the clerk, but remember, you need three stamps.

You can also return your absentee ballot in-person to the clerk. The courthouse is closed, but there will be an area where you can drop it off.

The deadline to register to vote is October 5 and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 27.