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New voter laws could impact upcoming primary

Looking ahead to the 2022 Arkansas Primary, new laws could impact voters.

ARKANSAS, USA — During the 2021 legislative session, lawmakers passed several election laws. Set to go into effect during the summer, four of those laws are on hold.

Act 973, moves the mail-in ballot deadline from the Monday before the election to the Friday before.

Act 249, would require those without proper ID to sign a sworn statement when casting a provisional ballot.

Act 736, would require a voter signature on an absentee ballot to be verified.

Act 728, would ban anyone from standing within 100 feet of a polling site unless they are voting.

Those against the laws call it voter suppression against immigrants and minorities.

“Many of our individuals have issues as related to name match,” said Mireya Reith with Arkansas United. “And then issues related to photocopiers and IDs and taking off time for work, which would all be entitled with these new laws.”

Those for the laws say it protects election integrity. These laws are on hold with Attorney General Rutledge planning to appeal the laws from a judge who ruled against them.

“The greater risk with these lies is disenfranchising voters including, we feel,  particularly are immigrant voters,” Reith.

With this being a highly contested election, Washington County Director of Elections Jennifer Price is expecting a high voter turnout. 

“Higher than normal turn out for this election, this is the biggest primary ballot I’ve seen since I’ve been here since 2007,” said Price.

Early voting begins May 9, with election day on May 24.

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