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JONESBORO, Ark. – County Clerk Kade Holliday has some good news for people who never know what polling location to go to.
Coming in 2018, if you vote on the machine with an electronic ballot, you’ll be able to go to whichever polling location you like.
The county is working toward what are called “vote centers,” Holliday tells NEA Report.
“Basically with a vote center, it’s almost like every poll is early voting,” Holliday explained. “If you wanted to vote on paper, you would still have to vote at your designated polling site, but if you wanted to vote on the machine, you could vote at any polling location.”
And if you vote in another ward, for example, you would still get to vote for your ward’s representatives, Holliday said.
The county clerk called the coming changes a “game-changer.” He said the county is always looking for ways to make it easier for residents in the area.
“It will be a drastic change,” Holliday said. “We don’t want to rock the boat too much before this Fall’s presidential election as this Fall will likely see the most contested races and ballot questions we have ever had in Craighead County. Our focus is on ensuring a smooth process with it, first and foremost.”
He said the biggest hurdles the county faces during the new implementation is to ensure voters understand everything they will be able to do. Since Craighead County is a dual voting methods, paper and electronic, each individual will still have a designated polling location that will be assigned to them.
“While you will be able to vote electronically at any poll as if it were early vote, an individual wanting to vote on a paper ballot on Election Day would be required to go to their actual polling location,” Holliday said. “This is primarily due to the fact that’s so many paper ballots have to be printed dependent upon the number of people expected to vote in that particular ballot style and if we allowed paper voting at all polls, the cost would be astronomical since that number of specific ballots would have to be at each poll.”
Also, because of the potential for several hundred different ballot styles from all the ballot splits, like state house, state senate, JP, municipal boundaries, etc., polls would have to have exponentially more printed options available and most would be wasted.
In this instance, voting on the machine instead of paper ballot has a clear advantage.