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How to Register, Vote and Track Your Ballot in Arkansas

En español | Arkansas only lets people with an excuse cast an absentee ballot, but the state offers in-person early voting to all registered voters.

The 2022 midterms decided races for seats in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, state Senate and House, governor, secretary of state and other state executive offices, as well as several state high courts. The next statewide elections are in 2024.

Essential info:

  • Absentee voting: Absentee ballots are available only to voters who will be "unavoidably absent" from their polling site on Election Day, or voters who can’t get to a polling site because of an illness or physical disability.
  • Early in-person voting: This option is available to all registered voters during the early voting period.
  • Voting at the polls: You’ll need to show a photo ID to cast a ballot in person.

Have there been recent changes to voting in Arkansas?

Voting laws passed in 2021 introduced rules for submitting signatures with absentee ballots, an earlier deadline to return those ballots and different photo ID requirements. The laws are being challenged in court.

A redistricting plan changed the boundaries of the four U.S. congressional districts and may affect which candidates appear on your ballot. A legal battle over the redrawn map is ongoing.

A voter walks into an early voting site in Conway.
MICHAEL B. THOMAS/AFP via Getty Images

How do I register to vote?

  • By mail: Download a copy of the application, which is available in English or in Spanish. You can also fill out and submit a request for a voter registration application on the secretary of state’s website, and an application will be mailed to you. Another option is to call your county clerk’s office to request an application. Or call the secretary of state’s Election Division at 800-482-1127, and you’ll be referred to the right county clerk’s office to make your request. Mail in the pre-addressed form once you have completed it. 
  • In person: Pick up and fill out a registration application at your county clerk’s office. You can also pick up an application at your local DMV office, public library, disability agency or military recruitment office. Mail or hand-deliver the completed form to your county clerk’s office.

Check your registration status by visiting the secretary of state’s VoterView page or by calling your county clerk’s office.

Does my party affiliation matter when I vote in the primaries?

No. Arkansas does not ask voters to affiliate with a party when they register to vote. Voters can choose to vote in any party’s primary, but they can only vote in one. 

How can I get an absentee ballot? Are there important deadlines?

Absentee ballots are available only to Arkansas voters who meet certain criteria. You may qualify if you will be “unavoidably absent” from your polling site on Election Day, can’t get to a polling site due to an illness or physical disability, are a military member (or a spouse of one) temporarily living elsewhere or are living outside the United States.

You must apply for an absentee ballot, and can do so in several ways:

  • By phone or email: Request a mailed copy of the application from your county clerk’s office or call the secretary of state’s Election Division at 800-482-1127. Your completed application can be mailed, emailed or dropped off at your county clerk’s office. Though the application form says you can also fax it to the county clerk’s office, the secretary of state’s office cautions that this method is not as reliable.

If you mail or email a completed application for an absentee ballot, it must be received by your county clerk’s office no later than seven days before an election. If you visit your county clerk’s office in person, you can fill out an application up until the close of business on the Friday before an election. That is also the deadline to hand-deliver completed ballots, meaning you can pick up and complete a ballot during the same visit.

Mailed ballots must be received by your county clerk’s office by the close of polls on Election Day.

For more information about absentee-voting procedures, including guidelines for authorized agents who can act on behalf of hospital patients or long-term care residents, visit the secretary of state’s website.

Can I track my absentee ballot?

Yes. Visit the VoterView page to track the status of your ballot.

Can I vote in person before Election Day?

Yes. Early voting is available during the seven or 15 days before Election Day, depending on the type of election. Note that hours may vary in counties with more than one early-voting site. In most cases, early voting takes place at your county clerk’s office, but contact the office to see if other locations are available.

What do I need to know about voting at the polls on Election Day? 

Find your polling location on the VoterView page. Check with your your county clerk’s office to confirm voting hours. If you are in line before the polls close, you’ll be allowed to vote.

Do I need identification to vote?

In-person voters need to present a photo ID issued by the state or federal government.

Acceptable forms of identification include:

  • A driver’s license
  • U.S. passport
  • A photo ID card
  • A concealed-handgun-carry license
  • An employee badge or ID document issued by an accredited postsecondary education institution in Arkansas
  • A U.S. military ID document
  • A public assistance ID card with a photo
  • A free voter verification card, available from your county clerk’s office

Residents of licensed long-term care facilities are not required to show ID when voting in person; rather, they can provide documentation from their facility’s administrator proving that they live in the facility.  

If you don’t have an acceptable form of ID when you go to vote, you may only use a provisional ballot, which will not count unless you bring a proper ID to your county clerk’s office by noon the Monday after the election.

Editor’s note: This guide was updated on Nov. 23, 2022, with information about how to vote in Arkansas. The guide was first published on Aug. 7, 2020.

Also of Interest: 

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