Arkansas lawmakers consider cutting early voting by 1 day

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 11:50 AM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A proposal to cut early voting by one day in Arkansas is advancing in the state legislature as lawmakers near the end of this year’s session.

The Senate by a 19-13 vote Thursday approved legislation to eliminate early voting on the day before primaries and general elections. The measure now goes to the House.

Republican Sen. Kim Hammer, the bill’s sponsor, argued the change was needed to give election officials a pause between early voting and Election Day.

But opponents said it would remove an opportunity to vote for people who can’t make it to the polls at other times.

The measure is among several voting law changes that have advanced in the Legislature this year. Gov. Asa Hutchinson last week signed a law prohibiting someone being within 100 feet of the primary exterior entrance of a polling site while voting is taking place unless they’re entering or leaving the building “for lawful purposes.”

The prohibition was in response to groups handing out food and water to people outside of polling sites.

Hutchinson earlier this year also approved a change to the state’s voter ID law that removed the ability for people without identification to cast a ballot if they sign a sworn statement.

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