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Time to vote 

Early voting has begun for the presidential primary election in Arkansas Tuesday, Feb. 5.

In Pulaski County, the early voting at the county courthouse is conducted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, Feb. 1, and also Monday, Feb. 4. There will be no Saturday voting.

Early voting also will be conducted through Friday, Feb. 1, at the Sue Cowan Williams Library at 1800 Chester St., the Dee Brown Library at 6325 Baseline Road, the Roosevelt Thompson Library at 38 Rahling Circle, the William F. Laman Library in North Little Rock, Jacksonville City Hall, Jess Odom Community Center in Maumelle, Jack Evans Senior Center in Sherwood and McMath Branch Library at 2100 John Barrow Road.

Polls will be open Tuesday, Feb. 5, from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Voters may choose to vote in either the Democratic, Republican or Green Party primary, unless they have registered by a particular party and then must vote in that party's primary. Most voters don't choose a party preference. Eight Democrats, six Republicans and four Green Party candidates — many no longer active candidates — will be on the ballots. Jacksonville voters also will face an annexation question.

If you can make it there …

Gena Lovett, a Little Rock native and Philander Smith College graduate, was written up last week in the New York Times as the first African-American to lead the New York Junior League, the women's civic group. Little Rock is ahead of that particular curve. Kim Evans was the first black to lead the Little Rock Junior League in 2003-2004. Lovett, 44, is chief operating officer of Alexandra Investment Management, a hedge fund. She was named to head the 3,000-member group amid controversy over current leadership's management and as the club tries to shed its image as a club for debutantes. Lovett indicated to the Times that she can navigate the world of society and high finance. “I would be telling you a tale if I said to you, ‘We don't do lunch,' ” she told the Times. “I do lunch, too, and I run a billion-dollar business.”

A national ID card

The New York Times reported recently that Arkansas was among the states resisting implementation of the Real ID, a planned national identification card. Federal legislation requires that states either meet certain security requirements for driver's licenses or file a waiver request by May 11. The Times suggested that Arkansas might opt for total noncompliance.

The legislature did pass two anti-Real ID resolutions in its last session: one that requested the state's congressional delegation to support the repeal of federal Real ID legislation, and another that asked Congress to add privacy features to the Real ID and provide money to implement the federal regulations. But, according to Mike Munns, an official at the Department of Finance and Administration, the state will likely comply with the Department of Homeland Security's Real ID guidelines by filing for a waiver. That will give Arkansas an additional 18 months to make the necessary changes to state driver's licenses.

DFA has until the middle of March to review the federal government's 200-plus page set of guidelines. At that point they can be expected to pass a waiver recommendation on to Governor Beebe, who will have the ultimate say on the state's action.

Beebe spokesman Matt DeCample said a Real ID decision isn't on the governor's horizon just yet, but he shares the legislature's reluctance to start a federal program that Congress hasn't funded.

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