Friday, February 19, 2016

TOP STORY >> Tussling at polling sites

Four days into early voting, and there’s already been some tussling and jostling outside and inside polling places.

Supporters with signs at the ReNew Church voting site in Cabot were told to keep themselves and their signs off church property, and some argued with church officials.

Chuck Eick, the Lonoke County Election Com-missioner, said state law prevents electioneering within 100 feet of a polling place, plus bans signs from private property if the owners do not want them. He said the church has a no-sign policy.

Also, Lonoke deputies voting on their lunch hour at the Lonoke Courthouse annex were told they had to cover up their uniforms to vote. Sheriff John Staley said the misunderstanding was worked out quickly.

“I can’t come in and vote in uniform as that could be advertising to vote for me. But the guys didn’t have any Staley decals or patches on them,” Staley said.

Pulaski County election officials say they are averaging about 1,500 voters a day.

Through Friday, Jacksonville had recorded more than 550 voters at the community center, and Sherwood had seen about 475 voters come through the senior center.

Lonoke County has seen about 1,200 voters with about 1,000 of those in Cabot alone, according to Eick.

Early voting in Jacksonville runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays at the community center.

Early voting also runs the same hours in Sherwood at the Jack Evans Senior Center.

Early voting in Lonoke County for the primary runs through Feb. 29 at ReNew Church, 1122 S. Second St., and the Lonoke County Courthouse Annex, 210 N. Center St. in Lonoke.

The times are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Feb. 29.

There will also be early voting, from Feb. 22-27, at the Ward Municipal Complex, 405 Hickory St.; Carlisle Civic Center, 215 S. Court St.; and England District Court, 110 N.W. Second St. The times are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

In related news, several Election Day polling locations have been changed. Those sites will be open 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on March 1.

Those who would have cast their Election Day ballots at Russell Chapel will do so at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church instead because there is more room there and an opportunity to provide greater privacy during voting.

The Lonoke Depot and American Legion Hut sites were combined into one Election Day polling place at the Lonoke County Courthouse Annex.

The Ward Chamber of Commerce voters will now cast ballots at the Ward Municipal Complex because there is more space at the new site. It is also an early voting and Election Day voting location.

And Grace Fellowship voters will be going to ReNew Church.

All voters are assigned polling sites for Election Day that appears on registration cards sent to them.