Fayetteville city officials are predicting a large turnout for today’s repeal vote, which is unusual for a single-issue special ballot, but not surprising considering how inflamed the anti-gay side is.
Of the 49,000 registered voters in Fayetteville, about 10% voted early. According to Becky Lewallen, the Washington County Clerk, 4,494 people cast their ballot Dec. 2, 3, 4, 5 and 8. “We’ve had a very heavy turnout for this election,” Lewallen said. “We almost had 1,000 today only. We might hit 4,500 to 5,000, so that’s a pretty heavy turnout.” Lewallen estimates 18,000 to 20,000 voters will cast their ballots Tuesday. Groups for and against Ordinance 119 have spent several weeks leading up to the special election campaigning to get voters to the polls. Rep. Charlie Collins, R-Fayetteville, said he’d like to see the measure get repealed. The group Keep Fayetteville Fair, which supports the Civil Rights Ordinance, has been busy knocking on doors and making calls to voters, according to Field Director Daniel Lagana.
Keep Fayetteville Fair has rented buses to deliver voters to the polls, which close at 7:30PM local time. Both sides are predicting a win, but hopes for the pro-LGBT side may lie with the student body of the University of Arkansas, although it’s unknown how many of those 26,000 students are registered to vote locally.