Election Day is Nov. 3: Voters have three options for casting ballots
By Scott Loftis
Carroll County voters will have three options for casting their ballot in the Nov. 3 general election.
Voters can apply for an absentee ballot from the county clerk’s office, they can early-vote in Berryville or Eureka Springs beginning Oct. 19, or they can vote at any of six vote centers across the county on Election Day.
The Carroll County Clerk’s Office began mailing absentee ballots on Monday. County Clerk Connie Doss urged voters casting absentee ballots to return them promptly.
“The thing that we need absentee voters to keep in mind is, we need for them to not leave them sit on their kitchen counter for a week,” Doss said last week. “They are going to get that ballot in the mail. They need to go ahead and process it and make sure that it gets sent back.”
The absentee ballots will include a checklist advising voters how to complete and return them to the clerk’s office.
“The big thing that everyone needs to remember to do is, they need to sign their voter statement,” Doss said. “It needs to be signed the same way that they signed their absentee application, because we will look and we will compare those signatures. The other thing is that they need to put a copy of their state-issued photo ID.”
Voters who don’t have a state-issued photo ID or would prefer not to send a copy of their identification must add a second signature in a designated place on their form, Doss said.
“If they don’t and there’s not photo ID in there, that ballot will not be counted,” she said.
The absentee ballot packets will contain a return envelope and an inner envelope.
“Their ballot is the only thing that goes in that inner envelope,” Doss said.
Doss said postmasters in Berryville, Eureka Springs, Green Forest and Holiday Island have agreed to presort mail left in the blue boxes outside their respective post offices so that absentee ballots placed in those boxes won’t travel outside the county before being delivered to the clerk’s office.
“Berryville is the only one in Carroll County that actually presorts their local mail,” Doss said. “But from now until the election, they are presorting that blue box. So then we just need the cooperation of the voters that if they have an absentee ballot, those go in that local blue box and then that blue box will be sorted and none of those ballots will leave Carroll County.”
The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Tuesday, Oct. 27, but Doss said that doesn’t leave enough time to get an absentee ballot returned to the clerk’s office by election day. She urged voters who want to cast absentee ballots to apply as soon as possible.
Early voting will begin Monday Oct. 19, and continue through Monday, Nov. 2. Early voting hours will be from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. On Monday, Nov. 2, early voting hours will be from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Early voting will be conducted at two locations: St. Anne’s Catholic Church at 614 S. Main in Berryville and St. Elizabeth Parish Center at 232 Passion Play Road in Eureka Springs.
Carroll County residents may vote at any of six vote centers that will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3.
The vote centers are located at Osage Baptist Church, 16475 Highway 103 South in Alpena; Holiday Island Country Club, No. 1 Country Club Drive in Holiday Island; Oak Grove Freewill Baptist Church, 74 County Road 624 in Oak Grove; Freeman Heights Baptist Church, 522 W. Freeman Ave. in Berryville; St. Elizabeth Parish Center, 232 Passion Play Road in Eureka Springs; and Grace Baptist Church, 101 Tommy Ratzlaff in Green Forest.
Doss said the county has received bulk cleaning and sanitizing supplies through the federal CARES Act, including
hand sanitizer, K95 masks, face shields and plexiglass shields that will be placed in front of poll workers. Masks will be encouraged but not required. Each voter will be supplied with a stylus that they can use to mark their selections on the ballot and then discard or keep.
“I think the poll sites should be very, very safe,” Doss said.
In a change from previous elections, Doss said unopposed candidates will not be listed separately. Instead, voters will have the option of voting or not voting for all unopposed candidates.
“You’re either voting for the whole slate or you’re voting for none of the slate,” she said.
The deadline to register to vote in time for the Nov. 3 election is Monday, Oct. 5. Doss said sample ballots will be available to view online at voterview.org. Voters can also double-check their registration information at the same site.
“If everything is current, then great,” Doss said. “You’re good to go. If you have any changes, then you need to get in touch with our office and let’s get that stuff fixed.”
Doss also noted that previously registered voters who haven’t voted in the past eight years have had their registration canceled and will need to register again to vote in this year’s election.
The Carroll County Clerk’s Office can be reached at 870-423-2022.