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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Lonoke County Republican relents, a tiny bit, on early voting

Posted By on Tue, Sep 2, 2014 at 11:15 AM

The Leader has an update on a story here last week about the resistance by a Republican member of the Lonoke County Election Commission to permitting the same access to early voting in Carlisle and England that is allowed in Republican-friendly Cabot. Here's last week's report.

A compromise was approved, but it's a poor one:

Early voting in Cabot and Lonoke will be held the 15 days prior to the election, which is allowed by law. But, in Carlisle and England, early voting will be held only on Friday, Oct. 31 and Saturday, Nov. 1. 

The part of the county shorted happens to have a higher minority population than the Cabot area. The Republican election commissioner Chuck Eick, who'd previously favored no early voting at all in the southern part of the county, has cited cost of equipment and the potential for breakdown.

Eick calso ontended the machines used in early voting couldn't be used Nov. 4, but a Democratic member of the commission said the law had been changed to allow that. Eick's attitude: Let the people outside Cabot eat cake.

“There’s a tremendous risk factor for what little, very, very little you gain. Now, I realize that these people want to vote. They have a right to vote. But early voting is not a right...You have a way to vote now. It’s Election Day. If you can’t make it that day, you have an absentee ballot. Early voting is strictly a convenience for voters.” 

The Leader will editorialize this week for a week of early voting. Sounds fair, except possibly to Eick. Eick is able to function as a veto on the three-member commission because unanimous votes are required on polling place decisions.

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