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Arkansas counties send notices to update voter information

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — County officials across Arkansas have sent out notices to remind state residents who did not vote in the past election to update their ballot information.

The decision complies with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which permits people to register to vote while acquiring driver’s licenses.

Terri Hollingsworth, the Circuit and County Clerk of Pulaski County, said her office mailed over 55,000 cards Friday, which was the most of any county, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported.

The county clerk’s office sent cards informing residents that if they do not reply to the notice, their registrations will be voided, Hollingsworth said.

Hollingsworth, the first black woman voted into a county-wide role in Pulaski, noted that only 10% of people responded to notices in the past.

“This is not junk mail; please do not throw it away,” Hollingsworth said at a news conference.

She said she hopes amplifying awareness will ultimately increase the number of voters.

Mariah Hatta, a Pulaski County spokeswoman, said that 135,549 people, which were around 55% of those registered, voted in the 2018 election.

As of last week’s numbers, the clerk’s office had received 2,182 replies to the warnings, Hatta said.

She noted their office is considering other avenues to reach qualified voters, which include electronically and through social media.

Mireya Reich, executive director of the Arkansas United Community Coalition, a group that prioritizes increasing voter literacy for immigrants, said it’s particularly vital to educate residents who are new to the state and the nation about voting.

Reich said that county clerks can do a better job of intentionally reaching out to immigrants, especially Asians and Hispanics.

“What we’re finding throughout the state of Arkansas is a lack of proactiveness,” Reich said

Hollingsworth noted that her team has gone to community events to inform people about voting. Her outreach efforts include working with residents who have been convicted of felonies on potentially erasing their records, Hollingsworth said.

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