Tuesday, March 15, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Runoff voting is underway

Early voting is underway for three runoffs in Lonoke County and will continue through Friday and Monday with Election Day on Tuesday.

We previously reported that early voting would be open Saturday, but Lonoke County Election Commissioner Chuck Eick said Tuesday state law does not allow early voting on Saturdays for runoffs.

People who voted in the Republican primary, used a nonpartisan ballot or didn’t vote can vote in the coroner race between Carla Horton and Karl E. (Eddie) Pennington, who cannot accept the job even if he wins because he dropped out of the race, though not soon enough for ballots to be changed.

If Pennington, who did not campaign at all but earned the most votes in the March 1 primary, comes out on top in the runoff, the current coroner, Cheryl Thomas, will serve for another two years until a regular election is held.

Thomas was appointed to fill the term of her husband, who died while in office. Appointees are ineligible to run.

Horton has worked for the State Crime Lab and several funeral homes.

Bob Morris and Kenny Ridgeway are in a runoff for the Dist. 13 justice of the peace seat, which was held by the late Larry Odom, who died last year. Both are solid candidates who will bring a lot of experience to the quorum court.

Morris almost got the 50 percent of the vote in the primary that’s needed to avoid a runoff. He netted about 46 percent. He’s a successful business owner and is known for his work with the Community Theatre of Cabot.

“I’m elated at the opportunity to be of service to the county — all the citizens of the county,” he told The Leader after the primary.

Ridgeway is also well known in the community. He said he’s confident that, no matter who wins, residents will be well served. They’ll be “in good hands,” and Morris is “a good man.”

Claud E. Irvin and John Howard are also facing off for the Dist. 4 JP seat.

Early voting sites are ReNew Community Church at 1122 S. Second St. in Cabot and the Lonoke County Courthouse Annex on North Center Street in Lonoke.

The early voting polls will be open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today through Friday and on Monday.