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Arkansas Voters Guide: Benton County Clerk encourages voters to request absentee ballots before deadline

The final day to request an absentee ballot to be mailed is Oct. 27. The final day to request an absentee ballot in person is close of business on November 2.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — The health, safety and voting rights of Benton County citizens is a priority for the Benton County Clerk’s office while the state manages life amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In order to keep the public healthy during this time, the County Clerk is reminding voters of their options while casting their ballot for the upcoming election.

The best way to request an absentee ballot is by downloading an application online at https://vote.bentoncountyar.gov and returning it by email, fax or mail as soon as possible. 

Voters can also take a picture of their request and email that into the below address.

  • Email: Absentee@BentonCountyAR.Gov
  • Fax: (479) 271-1019
  • Mail: Betsy Harrell, Benton County Clerk
    215 E. Central Avenue
    Bentonville, AR. 72712

The final day to request an absentee ballot to be mailed is Oct. 27. The final day to request an absentee ballot in person is close of business on November 2 at 215 E. Central Avenue in Bentonville. That same ballot must be returned by close of business on November 2.

The final day for a designated bearer to return an absentee ballot is 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, November 3. The final day to return a ballot via mail is Election Day November 3. It must be in the hands of the county clerk on Election Day. Postmarked by date does not qualify.

As Governor Hutchinson and Secretary of State John Thurston announced, COVID-19 is a valid reason to be unavoidably absent from the polling site on the election. 

“Unavoidably absent from the polling site on election day” is not defined in the law, and is open to whatever interpretation an individual wishes to use. The County Clerk’s office has no authority or mechanism by which an absentee ballot application can be refused, other than the person requesting it not being a registered voter in Benton County. If unavoidably absent means that a person doesn't feel safe going to a polling site, then they certainly have the right to request an absentee ballot.

Below is the code section which refers to persons eligible for absentee ballots:

A.C.A. § 7-5-402. Voter qualification.

The following persons, if possessing the qualifications of electors, may cast an absen-tee ballot in any election:

(1) Any person who will be unavoidably absent from his or her voting place on the day of the election; and

(2) Any person who will be unable to attend the polls on election day because of illness or physical disability.

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