Early voting for local and state preferential primary elections is now under way, but early motion on the election is sluggish.

Ashley County Circuit Clerk Christie Martin said that early voting in the county is off to a “very slow” start, and wanted to remind voters they still have two weeks to cast their vote in the election.

Only 158, or about 1.5 percent of the county’s 10,756 registered voters, had shown up to the courthouse voting by the second day of early voting, Martin said. 

The polling place in Crossett also got off to a slow start as well, with voters showing up sporadically all throughout the day.

Crossett’s polling station’s numbers weren’t yet available, but one poll worker called the voters’ turnout “spotty,” and she said she hoped that more people would show up the next day. 

Early voting can be done at the Ashley County Courthouse at 205 E. Jefferson St. in Hamburg, or at the Crossett Community Center at 105 E. Second Ave., in Crossett. The Ashley County Clerk of Court’s office has asked that voters have their ID ready and be prepared to state their name, date of birth and current address.

Since the election is a preferential primary, voters will have to tell poll workers which primary they wish to vote in and choose either a Republican, Democratic or non-partisan ballot.

Local elections on the ballot include the Republican primary for county judge, school board races in Crossett and Hamburg, a primary for Justice of the Peace in District 4 and the Egypt Township constable’s race.

State and federal primaries include for governor and senate, among others. 

Election Day is May 24. Early voting is now open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and will end at 5 p.m. the Monday prior the election. 

Early ballots can also be cast between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturdays.

In the county judge’s race, three candidates, Herbert “Bubba” Carpenter, Judge Jim Hudson, and Jim Wells, have qualified as Republicans. 

Whoever wins in the primary will face a fourth candidate, former Judge Dennis F. Holland Sr., in November. Holland qualified as an independent candidate.

The only primary race for the Quorum Court will be in District No. 4, between Ashlie Harper and incumbent Rickey Nelms, who are both running as Republicans.

 All of the area’s school board seats were technically up for grabs after the 2020 census forced rezoning, but in many cases the person who qualified for the seat was the only one and so will be elected without opposition. A few seats, however, have multiple contenders.

In Crossett, Zone 4 incumbent Katie Jordan is facing a challenge from Barry Burchfield.  In Hamburg, Debbie Jackson and Angela Holland are running for the Zone 3 seat. In Zone 5, Shawn Carpenter and Michael Wilhite are on the ballot.

The Republican ticket will also include a race for Egypt Township constable between Ovid Switzer and Frankie Tanksley.

To see a full sample ballot, see p. 5 in this week's print edition.

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