Voting helps democracy prevail and is the best way to get your voice heard. But just as time and technology changes the way we approach our day to day routines, it also impacts the way we vote. That is why reviewing our election procedures is a constant process. In 2013, we passed 34 laws impacting elections.
If you have not seen these changes during the May primary, you may notice them during the November election.
One law passed by the 89th General Assembly directly deals with the election of our local prosecuting attorneys. Until now, prosecutors had to run on a party ticket. Act 1110 changes that by making the office of prosecutor a non-partisan office. This is how our judges are elected as well. Sponsors of the bill maintained prosecutors are there to enforce the law and should not be required to side with a particular party.
Filing fees that used to go to the political party are now being directed to support trial court assistants.
The 89th General Assembly also passed a law designed to ensure our poll workers have more training.
Act 1457 requires all poll workers to attend election training by the State Board of Election Commissioners at least once every 5 years. Previously only one poll worker at each polling site was required to take the training. Now every worker will be required.
Another law passed last year establishes a voting day vote center. Act 1389 allows counties with electronic voter registration records to designate a vote center. These vote centers would allow anyone from any precinct to cast their ballot on election day. This is very similar to the way many counties currently handle early voting.
Registration for voting centers must be certified by the Secretary of State. So far only Boone County has been certified, but we could see more counties taking advantage of this opportunity before November.
If you have questions about voting procedures in your district, contact your county clerk. The Secretary of State’s office also provides valuable information at sos.arkansas.gov.