With early voting starting today, Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston's office projects that 916,674 of the state's registered voters will cast ballots in the Nov. 8 general election.
The state has 1,798,211 registered voters, Kevin Niehaus, director of government affairs for the secretary of state's office, said Friday.
"As for a projection on voter turnout for November 8th, the past two General Elections [in midterm elections] saw a turnout of just over 50% with 50.43% in 2014 and 50.38% in 2018," he said in a written statement.
In the 2014 general election, 898,793 voters out of 1.78 million registered voters cast ballots, according to the secretary of state's office's website. In the 2018 general election, 852,642 of 1.69 million registered voters cast ballots.
"Based on those numbers we project that 916,674 (51%) voters will cast a ballot in this year's General Election," Niehaus said.
In the 2006 general election, 774,680 (49.32%) of 1.57 million registered voters cast ballots, he said, and in the 2010 general election, 781,333 (49.75%)of 1.57 million registered voters cast ballots.
In the 2022 general election, Arkansas voters will cast ballots to elect a governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor and land commissioner and a member of the Arkansas Supreme Court.
With Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson barred from seeking reelection by the state's term limits amendment, Republican nominee Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Democratic nominee Chris Jones and Libertarian candidate Ricky Dale Harrington Jr. are vying for a four-year term as governor.
In the general election, voters also will decide who wins the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Republican John Boozman, four congressional seats, 100 state House of Representatives seats and 35 state Senate seats, and various local government offices, including county and city offices.
Arkansas voters also will decide the fate of proposed constitutional amendments that would legalize recreational marijuana and allow the Legislature to call itself into special session. They also will vote on proposed constitutional amendments to require 60% of voters rather than a majority of them to vote for approval of a proposed constitutional amendment or proposed initiated act, and to bar the government from burdening a person's freedom of religion unless the government can demonstrate that doing so furthers a compelling government interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering that interest.
For the general election, early voting begins between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. today through Friday and between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday, according to the secretary of state's office. Early voting ends at 5 p.m. on the Monday before the Nov. 8 election.
Pulaski County Election Coordinator Amanda Dickens said she expects about 55% of the county's 240,000 registered voters to cast ballots in the general election -- the same percentage of registered voters to cast ballots in the county in the last midterm election in 2018.
The voter turnout in Pulaski County might go a little higher than that because there is not an incumbent in the governor's race and the mayor's races in Little Rock, Sherwood and Jacksonville each have at least three candidates. Dickens said she expects that will drive up turnout, particularly in Little Rock.
Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott and challengers Steve Landers Sr., Greg Henderson and Glenn Schwarz are jockeying for a four-year term as mayor.
Benton County Election Administrator Dana Caler said she expects about 50% of the county's registered voters to cast ballots in the general election because voter turnout in the county had averaged about 50% of registered voters in midterm elections.
In the 2018 general election, 49.03% of Benton County's registered voters cast ballots, she said.
Caler said Benton County has 181,375 registered voters for the general election.
Washington County Election Commission Director of Elections Jennifer Price said Washington County had a 50% voter turnout in the 2018 general election and a 67% voter turnout in the 2020 general election.
In the 2018 primary election, Washington County had a 14% voter turnout, she said, and in this year's primary election the county had a 21% voter turnout.
"We did see an increase percentage-wise from the 2018 primary to the 2022 primary, so based on those numbers and looking to the ballot where there is not an incumbent running for governor and county judge we are planning on anywhere from 55% to 60% voter turnout," Price said in a written statement.
She said the county has 142,730 registered voters for the general election.
"Our general election numbers for a mid term election have been 47% and 50%," Price said. "We always plan on the high side for staffing and supplies, so that if the number is greater than anticipated we are prepared."
Saline County Clerk Doug Curtis said he is projecting 62.5% or 49,165 of the county's 78,664 voters to turn out in the general election.
He said there is a lot of interest in Saline County in the general election but it's not stemming from any particular race.