ARKANSAS, USA — While elections may not be top of mind for everyone at the moment, they have been for Arkansas legislatures as bills related to elections move quickly toward becoming law.
Here’s a breakdown of a few that would impact the next election cycle if passed.
House Bill 1487:
This bill focuses on how the ballots are handled, making sure a ballot count report is delivered to county clerks with a date stamp and a chain of custody.
Not only does this address concerns supporters of Donald Trump had in 2020 about ballot handling— it comes after the clerk in Crawford County inadvertently took home a couple dozen ballots on election night back in November.
House Bill 1510:
This bill has to do with when special elections are held.
They would be required to happen on the second Tuesday of November or usually a week after the general election. In a presidential election year, they could be around primary day in March.
Supporters say cities and counties try to sneak unpopular tax increases when voters aren't paying attention. A special library tax election last month drew only 1,400 votes in North Little Rock.
Senate Bill 254:
When you cast a ballot, there’s usually a spot to write in a person for office if you don't like the candidates. This bill would rid of that line. So, you would no longer be able to fill in any name you want. If you do write a name, it becomes a blank.
This bill focuses on paper ballots. It would require paper ballots to be compatible with the electronic machines. So, a county that chooses to use paper ballots would just be responsible for the printing and counting. The counting must be done no later than 24 hours after the polls close. Supporters of Donald Trump have pushed election officials to ditch voting machines based on unfounded allegations that they can be tampered with. Cleburne County plans to go paper-only in the next election.
Though these aren't all of the bills relating to elections, they are ones that could have a large impact.