Primaries are Where YOU Make a Difference
The U.S. saw record-breaking turnout for the 2020 Presidential election, but the turnout in Arkansas was far less impressive than what was witnessed in other states. The important primary election on May 24, as well as the early-voting opportunities in the weeks before it, provide an opportunity for Arkansans to transform the state into one where registered voters head to the polls in droves.
While the general election draws more attention and more voters, important decisions are made during primaries, which is why the Northwest Arkansas Council and other community leaders want every eligible voter to cast a ballot in this year’s primary. Primaries afford voters an opportunity to advance the best candidates to the general election, and that weeding out ensures Arkansas finds itself with high-quality candidates up and down the ballot in November.
Voting among the Workforce
As the region’s population grows, more people are looking to the state’s northwest corner for signs of community and civic engagement.
From a workforce development perspective, the more business leaders are involved in civic engagement, the stronger the workforce community will be. Business owners should actively recommend voting in elections, and it should not be a divisive topic. In fact, many employees expect their employers will be involved in civic and/or social issues, especially among the millennials and younger voters who are driven to influence and change the world. In short, many Northwest Arkansas workers expect employers to let them leave work long enough to vote. If employers empower their people to get more involved in the process, the workers are likely to become more invested in the community and more likely to stay in the area. That helps create long-term workforce stability.
An effective way to support employee voting is through education, awareness, and access. Voting can be intimidating, and even more so for a newcomer. Here are a few ways businesses can support a higher turnout of voting among their employees:
- Block times on the company calendars for early voting.
- Encourage employee carpooling to go vote early.
- Share email and newsletter reminders with voting resources, such as:
- Check My Registration
- Senate District Finder
- House District Finder
- Who’s Running?
- Locate Early Voting Site: Benton County and Washington County
- Encourage the company leadership team to go vote.
- Remind employees how quick and convenient early voting can be when compared to waiting until Election Day.
Who Can Vote and How?
Arkansas residents who successfully registered to vote prior to the April 25 deadline are eligible to vote in this year’s primary election. Arkansas offers open primaries, meaning any registered voter at the primary can request a Republican ballot, Democrat ballot, or nonpartisan ballot. A voter can only get one, not all three.
Helpful Tip: To review a sample ballot that contains the candidates’ names and issues that would appear on a real ballot, visit VoterView on the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office website. By entering your own name and date of birth, and then scrolling to the bottom of the page, it’s possible to download a sample ballot showing exactly what will be on your ballot when you go to vote.
Benton and Washington counties have taken steps to make voting convenient and accessible. The counties transitioned from precinct-based polling locations to vote centers where voters can cast their ballots at any vote center in the jurisdiction, regardless of their home address so long as the voter is in the same county. Additionally, the window for early voting has expanded. Voters can cast ballots for the primary election from May 9 through May 23 or on Election Day on May 24.
For voting resources in Spanish, EngageNWA recently produced a helpful voter guide in Spanish and English.
When Arkansans vote, Arkansas wins. When Arkansas voters take action to become knowledgeable about the people and policies they’re asked to consider on Election Day, people across the nation will see that ARKANSANS CARE about their communities. People who vote are doing their part to make Arkansas better tomorrow than it is today.
Help us increase voter turnout in Northwest Arkansas by advocating within your business or network for people to vote in the primary election this year.
- Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 24, 2022.
- Primary early voting period runs from May 9 to May 23.
- The deadline to request a ballot by mail is (received by) May 17.
- The deadline to drop off a ballot in person is May 20.
How to Find Early Voting Sites
Tips for Voting
- Make a plan for yourself to go vote, and then encourage your family/friends/network to vote.
- Take advantage of early voting! Don’t wait until Election Day.
- Remember that you must show a photo ID issued by the state or federal government when you vote.
- Prepare. The state changed many boundaries so your Senate or House district may be different this year. Make sure you know which district you’re in and who is running.
- Access an official sample ballot through the state secretary of state’s office. Input name and date of birth, and scroll to the bottom of the page to download a sample ballot.
- Don’t procrastinate. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is May 17.
- Be a team player by offering your neighbors or colleagues a ride to the polls.
- Empower your community by spreading the word about the importance of voting, and the importance of primaries.