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Last Updated: May 9th, 2018 - 14:44:24

New machines to be in place for voting
May 9, 2018, 14:43

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Early voting is under way for the May 22 preferential primary, and some voters are facing a dilemma — they have to choose between casting ballots for county judge and their district’s constable and justice of the peace.

In the race for Justice of the Peace District 8 — where both primary candidates, incumbent Ricky Sims and Robert Cornelius Jr. have qualified as Democrats — the race will be decided in the primary. Likewise, in Egypt Township, Robert Steven Hampton and Franklin Tanksley are squaring off for constable.

The same is true in the county judge’s race. But both incumbent Judge Him Hudson and former Judge Dennis F. Holland — who Hudson defeated in 2016 — have qualified as Republicans.

“In this election, (voters) can only vote in the Democratic primary, the Republican primary or the non-partisan primary,” Ashley County Election Commissioner Terry McDermott said. “Talking about it at the polling place isn’t the answer. If they want the laws changed, they need to call their state representatives or state senator.”

All voters will have an opportunity to vote for non-partisan candidates and ballot measures, however, since the non-partisan races are included on all ballots.

Even if a voter casts a ballot in a partisan primary, during the general election in November, they can still vote for another candidate.

The process of voting will also be different during this election.

Arkansas’ new voter ID law will be in effect, County Clerk Christie Martin said, though people who show up at the polls with a proper photo ID can still cast a provisional paper ballot.

This will also be the first election using new voting machines.

Martin said the new machines, Express Votes, and their supporting equipment, were purchased at a cost of $428,000.

The new machines were necessary, she said, because the software on the old machines would no longer receive technical support from the company that provided them.

--For the complete story, see the print edition.