Election day is November 3, 2020, and several important local and national races will be decided. Here's what you need to know to ensure you can cast a ballot in Arkansas, and a look at what you will be voting on.
- Election Day: Tuesday, November 3
- Deadline to register by mail: Monday, October 5
- Deadline to register for voting in person: Monday, October 5
- Deadline to request an absentee ballot (must be received by): Tuesday, October 27
- Early voting period: from Monday, October 19 to Monday, November 2
Chapter one: Early Voting
The deadline to register to vote in Arkansas has passed. Now, voters are casting their ballots across the state during the early voting period.
To find an early voting center near you, follow this link provided by the Arkansas Secretary of State.
Early voting begins on Monday, October 19, and lasts until Monday, November 2.
If you are still in line to vote when the polls close at 7:30 p.m. you can still vote.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Tuesday, October 27. You can turn in your absentee ballot the day before the election to your county clerk or by mail by 7:30 p.m. on election day.
Requesting an absentee ballot in Ark. & submitting your ballot
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that voters could request an absentee ballot if they are concerned about voting in-person this year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Once you're registered to vote in Arkansas, here is how you can request an absentee ballot.
First, you must qualify for an absentee ballot in Arkansas. Here are the qualifications you must meet.
- You will be unavoidably absent from your polling site on election day.
- You will be unable to attend your polling site on election day due to illness or physical disability (including COVID-19 concerns).
- You are a member of the Uniformed Services, merchant marines, or the spouse or a dependant family member and are away from your polling location due to the member's active duty status.
- A U.S. citizen whose residence is in Arkansas but is temporarily living outside the territorial limits of the United States.
If you qualify, request to have an absentee ballot sent to you from your local county clerk's office. Complete the form and return it to the county clerk's office. You can also download the absentee ballot application online and return it in-person or by mail, email or fax to your local county clerk's office.
Here are the deadlines for submitting an absentee ballot application in Arkansas after registering to vote.
- If you are submitting your absentee ballot application in-person at your county clerk's office, you must do it by close of business the day BEFORE the election.
- If you are submitting your absentee ballot application by mail or electronically, you must provide the form seven days BEFORE the election.
After your application is processed, you will receive an absentee ballot from your local county clerk's office or details on how to obtain your ballot (call your local county clerk's office if you have questions).
Here are the deadlines for submitting an absentee ballot in Arkansas after completing your application.
- If you are submitting an absentee ballot in-person in Arkansas to your county clerk's office, you must do it by close of business the day BEFORE the election.
- If you are submitting an absentee ballot by mail in Arkansas (you may NOT fax or email a ballot), your ballot must be received by your local county clerk's office by 7:30 p.m. election night (Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020).
If you have any questions about registering to vote in Arkansas or submitting an absentee ballot, please call your local county clerk's office as soon as possible.
Chapter two: Key Races
Here are the Key Races:
President Donald Trump is seeking to be re-elected for a second term after winning in 2016. He is being challenged by Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who has chosen Kamala Harris as his Vice President candidate.
U.S. Senate Race
Republican Senator Tom Cotton is hoping to be re-elected after being elected to the Senate seat in 2014.
There is no Democratic candidate on the ballot to face Cotton after Josh Mahony exited the race shortly after the filing period deadline passed.
Libertarian candidate Ricky Harrington Jr. will be on the ticket against Cotton. Independent Dan Whitfield has dropped out of the Senate race but is currently in a legal battle over limitations he says were placed on his campaign.
U.S. House Races
First Congressional District
Congressman Rick Crawford (R) is running unopposed for the 1st congressional district seat.
Second Congressional District
Congressman French Hill (R) is running against Joyce Elliott (D) for the 2nd congressional district seat.
Third Congressional District
Congressman Steve Womack (R) is being challenged by Celeste Williams (D) and Michael Kalagias (L) for the 3rd congressional district seat.
Fourth Congressional District
Congressman Bruce Westerman (R) is being challenged by William Hanson (D) and Frank Gilbert (L) for the 4th congressional district seat.
Chapter three: Ballot Measures
Here are the Ballot Measures:
Issue No. 1
An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to continue a half-percent (0.5%) sales tax for state highways and bridges, county roads, bridges, etc. Read the full issue.
What does your vote mean?
For: You vote to raise the sales tax for state infrastructure projects.
Against: You vote against raising the sales tax.
Supporters of Issue No. 1 say:
- The tax will support 3,600 jobs and provide over $8 billion over 10 years.
- Helps pay for highways, bridges, etc. without creating a new tax; it is just adding to one that already exists.
Opponents of Issue No. 1 say:
- Arkansas Department of Transportation cannot oversee how many state transportation infrastructure that it has, and there will never be enough money to cover it all.
- A large portion of the funds will go to a project just in Little Rock, which will benefit a small group of residents in the state. ARDOT is currently being sued in state and federal courts for violating environmental and planning regulations on the particular project.
Issue No. 2
An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution to amend the term limits for members of the Arkansas House to twelve consecutive years for state legislators with the opportunity to return after a four-year break. Read the full issue.
What does your vote mean?
For: You vote to take away lifetime term limits for legislators, limiting their terms to 12 consecutive years when they're elected after 2020, and if they reach 12 years, they have to wait four more years to run again.
Against: You vote to maintain the current lifetime term limits of serving up to 16 years in the House.
Supporters of this amendment say:
- If you believe the government should be run like a business, it wouldn't make sense to fire the leadership of business after 12 years.
- Gives elected officials time to be experienced while still keeping term limits short enough.
Opponents of this amendment say:
- Actually extends term limits because it allows current legislators serving 16 years to sit out for four years after they reach the and then can run again for an additional 12 years.
- This removes the current limit and allows them to return just four years later.
Issue No. 3
A constitutional amendment to amend the process that goes into the submission, challenge, and approval of proposed legislation. Read the full issue.
What does your vote mean?
For: You vote to move dates when voter petitions are due, increasing the number of counties where voter signatures must be collected for all citizen-initiated petitions, etc.
Against: You vote not to change the current guidelines on the submission. challenge and approval of proposed legislation.
Supporters of Issue No. 3 say:
- Under the current guidelines, out-of-state interest groups have bought signatures in parts of the state with large populations with one predominant political ideology.
- The Arkansas Constitution is sacred and should not be easily changed by out of state interest groups.
Opponents of Issue No. 3 say:
- These measures make it difficult to get citizen-led petitions on the ballot.
- If the supporters of the amendment really cared about changing the constitution, they would make it harder to refer amendments within the Arkansas House legislature, which is where 80% of amendments originated.
Chapter four: Election Results
Live election results will be posted on this page on November 3.
Results can also be found on the Arkansas Secretary of State's website.