Election season in flux as voting laws, maps face challenges
Like it or not, we're entering election season again.
- There's a lot happening that could impact the mechanics of how Arkansans will vote during the May primary election and midterm elections in November.
Why it matters: Voting is a right, not a privilege, and is the best way for citizens to express their support for state and federal lawmakers, or desire for change.
Context: The Arkansas primary — how parties select nominees for the November general election — is May 24.
- Early voting begins May 9 and you must register by April 25 to be eligible to participate.
Catch up quick:
1. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen recently struck down four laws passed by the Arkansas legislature last year, saying they place undue burdens on voters and violate the Arkansas Constitution.
- The Republican-sponsored laws impact voter identification and how ballots are validated, plus regulate campaigning around the polls and set new deadlines for mail-in absentee ballots.
- Attorney General Leslie Rutledge will appeal Judge Griffen's decision, claiming it is "erroneous" in a statement to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
2. A federal lawsuit that claims the state's congressional district map is drawn to dilute Black voting power will be heard by a panel of three judges, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported Friday.
- Any potential changes to the map would impact the primary.
3. A state lawsuit making the same claim was filed in Pulaski County circuit court last week.
4. There's a discrepancy in Washington County's Senate District 35 boundaries and the legal descriptions of the district, which includes Farmington, Prairie Grove and Lincoln. Twenty-nine households that should be in the district ended up in another, despite warnings from the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission.
- State election officials are trying to determine how to fix the issue.
5. Benton County's Election Commission approved 13 early voting sites for the May 24 primary and nonpartisan judicial and school board elections.
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