Pulaski County Clerk Terri Hollingsworth and Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. will talk at 10 a.m. today about local efforts to help with absentee and early voting and voter access to polls.

Advertisement

Hollingsworth is expected to announce a drive-by, manned station outside the county courthouse to drop off absentee ballots. The clerk had already been taking drop-off ballots just inside the east entrance to the courthouse and last week added a tent outside for in-person dropoffs on the south side of the courthouse. An ID is required to personally deliver an absentee ballot to the clerk, rather than mailing, though the submitted return envelope also must include a copy of an approved photo ID.

The Pulaski County Election Commission has added early voting sites and voting centers to expand in-person election options this year.

Advertisement

I’ll add more details after the 10 a.m. event, which can be viewed on the city of Little Rock’s YouTube channel.

I expect the Republican Party of Arkansas will be watching closely to look for any potential legal obstacles that could prevent the expansion of voting in heavily Democratic Pulaski County. Hollingsworth is a Democrat. Scott says he is but ran for mayor as a nonpartisan.

Advertisement

A reminder for voters: The governor and election commissioners have made clear that they may NOT require voters to wear masks to in-person polls, though election workers will be required to wear them. The theory is that a mask requirement would add an unconstitutional additional requirement to vote. Masks and other sanitary measures will be encouraged, but the fear of encountering Trump voters in enclosed spaces was a key reason I decided to risk entrusting an absentee ballot to the U.S. mail. Mine was delivered, but it still must pass the canvassing process including a match of my ever-varying “signature.” Some 22,000 absentees have already been received in Pulaski County, with more than two weeks to go. An interesting and scary statistic this year will be the number disqualified, a fact that won’t be known until after the election.

UPDATE: More details from the news conference.

Second Street will be closed between Spring and Broadway to be used only by people dropping off ballots from cars. Drivers must follow the same procedure used inside the nearby building, producing an ID and signing a log. The envelopes will be placed then in a locked box watched by a deputy sheriff.

The street will be closed and ballots accepted the weeks of Oct. 19-23 and Oct. 26-30, plus Nov. 2, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (5 p.m. on Nov. 2). The drive-through also will be held on Saturdays, Oct. 24 and Oct. 31 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Advertisement

Hollingsworth said about 10,000 absentee ballots have been returned of the 23,000 mailed out.

Hollingsworth mentioned the Election Commission’s expansion of early voting to 12 sites, open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. This will continue through Monday, Nov. 2, when they will close at 5 p.m.

The early voting sites will continue as vote centers on election day, along with the 105 regular polling places.

Hollingsworth’s office will be sending notices to voters whose polling places have changed.

In response to a question, she said there’d been “opposition” to having multiple locations to take absentee ballots. Wonder who?