Early voting on sales tax starts Tuesday

Glenn Parrish
Logan County Judge Ray Gack said last week the mask mandate inside the Logan County Courthouse in Booneville will be in force for early voting.

Early voting for the continuance of a one percent sales tax within the city of Booneville will begin on Tuesday at the Logan County Courthouse.

The election puts in conflict a statewide directive on wearing of masks in public and a Logan County Courthouse admission requirement.

One of the exemptions spelled out in Governor Asa Hutchinson’s directive on wearing masks is while voting. Also exempted are those working elections.

However, marks are required to enter the courthouse.

Logan County Judge Ray Gack, after speaking with county attorney Tyler Brham, announced last week that masks will continue to be required.

Aug. 11 is the first special election date since Hutchinson’s mask mandate took effect on July 20.

The early voting period on the question of whether to continue the tax will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 4 through Monday, Aug. 10, which will require admission into the Logan County Clerk’s office.

Election officials in the office will be wearing masks and gloves to handle the paper ballots for the election, which contains only the sales tax question.

Currently, materials are passed from the hallway to the inside of the office via a slot in the door glass.

Because the vote is limited to city residents there is likely to be little early voting traffic.

This isn’t the first time the sales tax election has come into conflict with courthouse restrictions.

When the vote was initially set in April, it had to be postponed due to the courthouse being closed, coupled with the uncertainty of using the Jeral Hampton Meeting Place as a polling location.

That lead to the city council approving a June date, but that was scrubbed due to there not being the required 60 days of time between the passage of the ordinance and the election, leading to the August date being set.