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Voting outside the polling place: Breaking down process of absentee voting in Arkansas

As more people are opting for an absentee ballot this year, it’s important to know the process of getting one and filling it out correctly.

PULASKI COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — As more people are opting for an absentee ballot this year, it’s important to know the process of getting one and filling it out correctly.

The Pulaski County Clerk, Terri Hollingsworth broke down the process for voters on Tuesday.

If you choose to vote with an absentee ballot, the deadline to apply is October 27, however, your county clerk has to have your application by that time. 

Officials are encouraging that you are sending it through the mail, it is encouraged to mail the application 5-7 days beforehand.

To download an application form click here.

Once you receive your application, you will be instructed to fill out all information, which will be highlighted in yellow.

“Make sure to request the appropriate absentee ballot for the following election, we only have one more election in Arkansas, that’s the general election,” said Hollingsworth.

Once the application is completed, signed, and approved, you’ll receive your ballot packet.

You’ll be instructed to mark your ballot, and then put the completed ballot in the envelope that is labeled "Ballot Envelope #1"

Seal it, then place the first envelope into "Return Envelope #2."

Then you’ll complete the voter statement and place it in envelope two.

“We want to make sure that you sign your birth date and not today’s date when you are completing the ballot,” said Hollingsworth.

Once your voter statement is completed, you’ll be instructed to make a copy of your photo ID. It is important to note that the copy should be light and readable.

The clerk’s office will not be making copies this year due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are asking that groups or churches assist elderly or others who have no access to printing photo ids in Pulaski County,” said Hollingsworth.

Once these things are completed and sealed in envelope two, you can return your ballot three ways, which are by mail with three first-class stamps, in person at the courthouse, or in person by a designated bearer.

“A designated bearer can only be a designated bearer for two people,” said Hollingsworth.

Completed absentee ballots must be returned to the clerk’s office by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3rd.

If you are delivering the ballot in person, it must be done by Nov. 2, the day before the election.

Hollingsworth also mentioned that voters who choose to head to the polls are not required to wear a mask, despite the state’s mask mandate.

Masks are highly encouraged though and will be available for voters at each voting center.