SECRETARY OF STATE NEWS RELEASE
(LITTLE ROCK, AR)— The preliminary and unofficial statewide turnout for the May 20 Preferential Primary and Nonpartisan Judicial General Election is 18 percent, reports Secretary of State Charlie Daniels. An 18% turnout would be the lowest primary turnout in the state’s history. The preliminary results show voter participation was as high as 48 percent in Sevier County and as low as 2 percent in Garland County.
“This appears to be the lowest turnout ever for a primary election in Arkansas,” Daniels said. “That’s not the kind of record I want to see our state break, but the fact is that many counties didn’t have a high-profile contested race this time around. The party primaries for presidential nominees were held separately in February for the first time taking that big race off the May ballot. Also, only around 20 percent of the open state and district positions received opposition, and none of them were for a statewide office.”
The 53 counties with contested state and district races are reporting preliminary and unofficial results into the Arkansas Secretary of State’s election reporting website, www.arelections.org. These counties are required to submit certified election results to the Secretary of State’s office no later than ten days following an election. At that time, the final results and turnout will be determined for those races. All counties must report election statistics to the State Board of Election Commissioners by 15 days after the election.
Statewide, around 58,000 Arkansans voted early and 11,000 requested absentee ballots in this election, which amounts to about 4 percent of the state’s 1.6 million registered voters.
Nearly 35 percent turned out to vote in the February 5 Presidential Preferential Primary, with around 70,000 voting early and absentee. In the 2004 Preferential Primary and Nonpartisan Judicial Election, turnout was 22 percent with around 59,000 voting early and absentee. Turnout was at a record-low 19 percent in 2000 with only around 36,000 voting early and absentee.