With just two weeks until Election Day, early voting has begun in some Arkansas locations. Here are the tools and information you need to find when and where you can vote, as well as what you’ll be voting for.
The first step to voting is knowing where you are registered. If you aren’t registered already, then you’ll have to wait until the next election, because Arkansas requires registration at least 30 days in advance. The address under which you register decides where you can vote and what will be on the ballot.
Luckily, you can figure out all of this in one easy swoop by visiting VoterView, a website run by the Arkansas Secretary of State. This has the most up-to-date information available because it comes directly from the official source. All you need to do is insert your name and birthday, and if you are registered, it will tell you the address you are registered under, polling locations for election day and early voting, when those locations will be open, and even provide a sample ballot showing exactly what your options are.
With that taken care of, you know who is on the ballot, but you might not know what they stand for. A quick search will reveal plenty about the candidates for higher level positions, like Governor. In other cases, it can be a little harder. Ballotpedia is an excellent tool for this, as it has interviews and Q&As with as many candidates as possible, even with local-level candidates. This guide to politics at the local level will give helpful tips and tricks for learning more about politicians at any level, while this article can tell you a little more about Issues 1-3.
Issue 4, which was added to the ballot more recently after a long battle through court, deals with legalizing recreational marijuana. With an official title stretching over 800 words, it would allow adults of 21 years of age or older to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana, which would not be counted for any medical allowances if they have a medical marijuana card. Sales would be taxed at 10% beyond regular sales tax. Businesses that are already licensed to sell medical marijuana would be allowed to sell it at their current locations, and would be permitted to establish one additional location for commercial sale only, while 40 new licenses would be distributed by lottery. One significant clause would require that any future changes be made by voters, rather than by lawmakers.
As a democratic nation, all political power and legitimacy is derived from you, reader. Learn all you can and make the decision that you believe is best for your community, your state and your county.