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Study: Arkansas one of the hardest states to vote in

By Robert Suhr

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    FAYETTEVILLE, Arkansas (KHBS, KHOG) — Early voting is underway in the midterm election — a new study says Arkansas is actually one of the hardest states to vote in.

A recent non-partisan academic study released by Northern Illinois University places Arkansas 48th out of 50 states in ease of voting and one of the study’s authors says that’s for numerous reasons.

“There’s laws that restrict absentee ballot distribution by a third party, there’s restrictions on time and quantity of absentee ballots that can be returned, laws about who can return the ballot,” said Scot Schraufnagel, political science professor at Northern Illinois University

Other factors that went into the state’s low rating include the fact Arkansas has no same-day voter registration, no polling place or online registration as well as the state’s overall length of time allowed for early voting.

And Arkansas is not alone – 19 other states have passed or enacted some sort of restrictive voting laws since 2020.

While Arkansas is third from the bottom, it’s a different world for states near the top of the list like Oregon and Vermont which recently went to all-mail voting.

“The ballot comes in the mail, they’re a registered voter, they fill it out at the kitchen table, put it in a secure envelope, sign the outside of the envelope because it’s their signature that’s gonna be their ID, and then drop it off in the mailbox or a secure ballot drop box,” Schraufnagel said.

Many states argue they make it easier to vote to increase voter turnout, but Schraufnagel adds there’s no proof that higher turnout benefits one party or another.

“The fallacy here is, like I’ve been studying elections for most of my life, I’m in my 60s now, you can look at one state in one election year and you can see, well voter turnout went up, and the democrat won, like in Georgia in 2020, must be an increase in voter turnout helps Democrats go to Iowa, there was an increase in voter turnout in 2020, the Republicans cleaned house,” Schraufnagel said.

He also adds in his years studying elections, in the rare cases of fraud, they almost always split party allegiance with fraud cases basically split among Democrats and Republicans.

40/29 News reached out to the secretary of state’s office for comment. A spokesperson told us they have not read the report yet and provided no comment to us.

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