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story.lead_photo.caption NWA Democrat-Gazette/SCARLET SIMS Poll workers get a refresher Wednesday on election processes from Jennifer Price, Washington County Election Commission executive director, during a training session at the county courthouse in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- The instructions for poll workers explaining new state rules for provisional ballots fill the entire side of a 12-by-16 inch manila envelope.

Washington County poll workers will use the envelope when voters need a provisional ballot -- like when they don't provide photo identification.

Acceptable IDs for voting

Under Arkansas Act 633, acceptable IDs for voting include: driver’s licenses, photo identification cards, concealed-handgun carry licenses, U.S. passports, employee and student badges or identification documents from accredited colleges and universities, U.S. military identification documents, public-assistance identification cards and free voter-verification cards.

Source: Act 633. Read it here.

Nursing Home Residents Voting Documents

A voter living in a long-term care or residential facility licensed by the state can provide a document from the administrator attesting to the identify of the voter living at the facility. The form, provided by the Arkansas Secretary of State, can substitute for other forms of voter identification.

Source: Washington County Election Commission

Ballots and Info

For sample ballots, voting center locations and other information on the upcoming annual school elections, visit the Washington County Election Commission website at

Source: Washington County

"Voters have to show ID now," Jennifer Price, Washington County election commission executive director, told 23 poll workers Wednesday.

Most voters will show identification, but a small percentage won't, Price said. Those voters will be offered a provisional ballot. They will sign an affidavit to verify who they are. The back of the envelope has signature areas for the affidavit, step-by-step directions for poll workers and a section describing the reasons why a voter needs a provisional ballot.

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"If you're unsure what (voters) should sign, just have them sign everything," Price said. "If unsure, just sign, sign, sign."

A clause on the envelop warns voters perjury is a felony. Lying and signing the affidavit could cost up to 10 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

Voters will cast ballots for annual school board elections starting Tuesday. Election day is Sept. 19.

Farmington, Lincoln and West Fork all have contested school board races. Only voters in zone 3 in the Lincoln School District will vote in the school board race.

Other school districts will have early voting early for their millages.

Price's envelope will get its trial run during the upcoming elections. Price said it was the easiest way she could lay out what poll workers must do to comply with the state's new voter ID law. It makes it clear and concise so poll workers don't miss any steps, she said.

The new voter ID rules went into effect Aug. 1 but harken back to requirements from a 2013 law, Price said. The Arkansas Supreme Court struck down that older law in 2014.

Even so, voters have been asked to show ID since the late 1990s, said Jon Davidson, educational services manager for the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners. Voters were asked but weren't required to show ID before 2013. Even so, most people are used to showing IDs, he said.

Davidson wasn't at Wednesday's training, but the board has encouraged those types of training, he said.

Price describes three scenarios on the envelope for when a person would get a provisional ballot, including what poll workers should do with first time voters who have expired identification and an incomplete voter registration.

The process for getting a voter a provisional ballot is detailed and technical. Poll workers took home stacks of paper to study.

There's a flow chart on "Reasons for Voting a Provisional Ballot" and a 25-page manual for setting up voting machines. Poll workers must remember to ask certain questions in certain orders, including "Do you have voter ID?," remember which identifications are OK and remember when to give back an ID during questions.

Even the envelope must be folded and put inside another bag.

Supervisors will handle provisional ballots, not regular poll workers, said Anne Schrader, a Prairie Grove poll worker. That helps poll workers deescalate situations by sending the voter to someone who can help, said Lonnie Runkle, a West Fork co-supervisor.

Price repeatedly told poll workers not to argue with voters and not to ask why the voter doesn't have ID.

"We don't care why they're not showing ID," Price said. "It's not an argument at that point."

Price's training session is a great "refresher" for how poll workers should act and what they should do, said Joe Batlle, a co-superintendent for Farmington. Poll workers go months sometimes without working an election, so training is good, he said. Plus, Price's method takes out the "lawyer-ese," Runkle said.

NW News on 09/07/2017

Print Headline: Poll workers prepare to ask for ID

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