by Max Brantley
Light turnout all over, according to reports here.
But, there was this disturbing report from a North Little Rock voter:
He was asked if he wanted a Democratic, Republican or non-partisan ballot this morning.
That didn't sound like the right choice to him. You may have a Democratic or Republican ballot (few races on either countywide) AND ALSO the non-partisan judicial ballot. If the practice my friend encountered was widespread, some people may have been deprived of votes. He knew about the judicial races and demanded the nonpartisan ballot, but was not given a Democratic or Republican ballot. No loss for him, because there were no primary races in his district.
UPDATE: Susan Inman, Pulaski election co-ordinator, explains. There ARE THREE choices. If you ask for the Democratic ballot, the judicial races also will appear on the ballot. Same for Republican. But if you specify only the nonpartisan ballot, that's all you'll get. Yes, it is confusing. But it is the procedure required by law. Beware, though. A request for the non-partisan ballot cuts you out of party primaries, where they exist.
Inman gently notes that you can avoid such problems by studying the sample ballots posted in every polling place.
I voted early, on the hated electronic machines, and must confess that it went smoothly this year.
UPDATE: The secretary of state has these numbers
May primary early and absentee voting -- 69,000
February presidential primary early and absentee -- 70,000
2004 primary early and absentee -- 59,000
2000 primary early and absentee -- 36,000. This election overall proved the lowest on record, 19 percent of registered voters.