Voting is one of our most important tasks as a citizen of the United States. Voting affects all aspects of our lives from national security measures to local taxes and school lunches. Voting is easy if you know where to go and registering is easy too.
You must register at least 30 days before the date of an upcoming election to be eligible to vote in that election. So, to vote in the 2016 presidential election, you must register by Monday, October 10, 2016.
In order to be eligible to vote, you must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Arkansas who has been living in Arkansas for at least 30 days before the election and at least 18 years old by the date of the next election. Even if you meet the requirements above, you can’t register to vote if you are a convicted felon still serving your sentence or have been judged mentally incompetent by a court with jurisdiction in AR.
You can register to vote by mail or in person.
You can register in person at a local county clerk’s office, any AR ODS location, any public library or Arkansas State Library, any public assistance or disability agency and any military recruitment or National Guard office.
You must bring or include your driver’s license number or the last 4 digits of your Social Security number on the application.
If you don’t have either one of those IDs, you must bring or include a photocopy of a photo ID that is valid and up-to-date and a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document. These documents must have your name and address and they must match.
Registering Out of State
If you are temporarily outside of Arkansas but are retaining your permanent residence in the state, you can register by mail, as above.
If you are attending college, you should register to vote based on your permanent address. For example, if your permanent address is in Arkansas, but you are attending school in Texas, you should register in Arkansas as above. If your permanent address is in Texas, and you are attending school in Arkansas, register in Texas. If your college address is your permanent address, register to vote in the state where you go to school.
If you are in the military or overseas, you can register by mail as above or request a military and overseas voter request form.
Confirmation of Voter Registration and Polling Place
Consider yourself registered only when you receive confirmation from the county clerk that you are. This can take 2-3 weeks. If you do not receive confirmation after two weeks, you may call your county clerk and inquire about the status of your application.
You should also get a notice of your polling place before major elections. Be sure to note this because polling places may change from election to election. Be sure to double check this before each election.
You can also confirm your voter registration online, and it is recommended to check your polling place before you visit the polls. The online form is very user-friendly and will only take a few seconds. It could save you some time (and keep you from missing your chance to vote. Be sure to check Voter View before each election.
Check Up on Ballot Issues
Presidential elections are exciting, but the bulk of governing happens on the local level. Those elections get less press than major state offices like governor or national offices like Senate and president. The Arkansas Secretary of State usually has ballot measures and state offices online. Sites like Ballotopedia, give ballot measures nationwide and allows you to look up your state and local offices. Reviewing these before you go to the polls can make you a more informed voter and help you decide on who or what you want to vote for.