by Max Brantley
Early voting doesn't suggest a highly motivated Arkansas electorate.
First-day voting in Arkansas was 26,763, according to the secretary of state, up a mere 503, or 1.9 percent, from first-day voting in 2008. That increase is below the state's population growth since 2008 of about 2.8 percent. (UPDATE: A Republican shill notes that (to the delight of the vote suppressing Republicans) the number of registered voters has declined slightly since 2008. So the increase is a tiny bit higher than first day four years ago on a percentage basis, though still up less than one-tenth of one percent. That seems lukewarm to me against the overheated partisan rhetoric.)
Opening day, then, indicated a turnout roughly equal to 2008's 65 percent of registered voters. That is, on balance, not good news for Democrats, whose traditional constituencies underwhelmed in 2008.
I voted first day at the county office on Broadway. It couldn't have gone more smoothly or quickly. There was a steady procession of voters, but ample workers on hand to accommodate them without a wait at 3:45 p.m. Lots of candidates — not just surrogates, but actual candidates — on hand with signs and a handshake.
UPDATE — GLITCH REPORT: A White County voter reports that the electronic ballot in Searcy doesn't fully print Rep. Tiffany Rogers' name. It cuts off about midway through — "State Representative Tiffany Ro....". Rogers, a Democrat from Stuttgart, is opposing Jonathan Dismang of Beebe in a hot Senate race. The Rogers campaign hopes to get the ballot corrected today, too late for those who voted early yesterday. At least one Democrat muddled through.
UPDATE II — RECOUNT: A Tuesday count by the secretary of state lifted first-day voting over 29,000, which is a more sizable increase. If it holds through the end of voting, his earlier prediction of a 65 percent turnout might be bested.