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Early voting begins; ‘glitch’ doesn’t deter voters  (AR)

Gary Lookadoo   Northwest Arkansas News   30 January 2008

BENTONVILLE - Early voting began Tuesday in the Arkansas presidential primary, but not before some minor problems had been addressed, county officials said.

Benton and the state's 74 other counties are voting on presidential candidates for the upcoming primary, which will be Feb. 5.

Through Monday, Feb. 4, eligible voters can cast their ballots early during regular business hours at any of three locations - the county clerk's offices in Room 217, 215 E. Central Ave. in Bentonville; at 300 W. Poplar St. in Rogers; and at 707 Lincoln St. in Siloam Springs.

The county's Web site had to be corrected Monday to reflect the time period for early voting before the election.

Under a state law that applies to the Feb. 5 presidential primary, early voting can be done during regular business hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, on five days only - Jan. 29, 30 and 31, and Feb. 1 and 4 - and the Web site now reflects that, said Tena O'Brien, administrative assistant to County Clerk Mary Lou Slinkard.

The Web site had incorrectly said early voting would be held over two weeks before the election, O'Brien said.

O'Brien said the "Early Voting"section of the county Web site has been modified to include the following "For all other elections, early voting shall be available to any qualified elector who applies to the county clerk during regular office hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning seven days before the election and ending on the day before the election day."

Also, on Tuesday, a problem with voting machines in all three early-voting locations briefly delayed a test that the Election Commission runs to make sure the machines are ready to be put into service in an election, Election Commission chairman John Brown Jr. said Tuesday.

That didn't prevent anyone from voting - they always had the option of using a paper ballot. And in any case, it didn't take long for the voting machines to be brought up to speed, he said Tuesday.

"(Each machine ) just didn't want to open right. (It was ) a glitch in the program," for the electronic voting machines, Brown said.

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