Nearly 12 percent of Ashley County’s registered voters have cast ballots in early voting leading up to the Nov. 6 election.
“We are already up past 1,500 early voters, and that is just about the max on the whole May primary, because there was hardly any turnout at the primary,” Ashley County Clerk Christie Martin said.
Ashley County has 12,628 registered voters. A total of 2,390 voted in the May primary.
Martin said Tuesday she expects a slightly greater turnout for the second week of early voting, and that she would like to see 3,000 early voters.
“That would be a really great turnout, considering there is no Presidential election,” she said.
Precinct Sheriff for the Crossett early voting site Billy Bolin said he had expected between 45 and 50 early voters for the first day when early voting opened last week, but instead had 143 show up over the course of that day.
The highest turnout day in Crossett so far had 165 voters. More than 900 ballots have already been cast in Crossett.
“I would say it has been exceptional,” Bolin said.
The early voters who have turned out so far have tended to be residents of the county’s municipalities, Martin said.
“The cities are turning out because they have mayor or alderman positions open, and that is bringing them to the polls,” she said.
At the Crossett site Tuesday, 26 people had already cast their early ballots by 10 a.m.
“I was asked if it was mayor or county races brining people out, and I may be way off, but I think it may be the shape the country is in,” poll worker Sally Bolin said. “(Voters) want to do their part.”
Shirley Pennington, another poll worker, agreed.
“People are getting inspired to get out and voice their opinion,” she said.
Early voting is open at the Ashley County Court House in Hamburg and the Economic Development Foundation on Main Street in Crossett from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. during the week and from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday. It will also be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 5
Election Day voting will be 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Martin said voters should remember to bring their IDs to vote.
“I can’t stress that enough,” she said. “They are going to need it.”
Races on the ballot in Ashley County include the Fourth Congressional District, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, auditor of state, commissioner of state lands, state representative for District 11, state supreme court associate justice Position 2, Ashley County circuit clerk, Ashley County clerk, Ashley County tax collector, justice of the peace for District 1, justice of the peace for District 11 and Millcreek Township constable.
City races on the ballot will include Crossett mayor and city council positions for Ward 2, Position 2, and Ward 3, Position 3; Fountain Hill mayor and alderman Position 1; Hamburg mayor and alderman Ward 1, Position 2; Parkdale mayor; Portland aldermen for Ward 1, Position 2, and Ward 2, Position 2; and a special election for a 1 percent sales tax for public safety in Wilmot.
Several constitutional amendments, including questions about requiring photo ID at the polls, allowing the creation of four casinos around the state, and raising the minimum wage will be on the ballot.
Two other amendments will be included but not counted after state courts struck down their filing as improper.