Tuesday, October 18, 2016

EDITORIAL >> Election review before you vote

Early voting in the general election starts Monday.

The Leader will conclude previewing all of the races before Tuesday, Nov. 8, which is Election Day.

The presidential race will be at the top of the ballot, accompanied by five ballot measures and several state and local races.

Issue 1 asks voters to extend the terms of county judges, county court clerks and county surveyors from two years to four years.

Issue 2 seeks to let Arkansas governors retain their authority when out of the state.

Issue 3 will ask voters to vastly expand the state’s offerings of incentives to businesses looking to open here. Now, the state can only spend $259 million annually to entice businesses. Issue 3 has been touted as a major economic plan that would create jobs and bring major corporations to Arkansas.

Issues 6 and 7 concern legalizing medical marijuana. Issue 6 will allow marijuana use for 17 medical conditions, while Issue 7 will do the same for 56 illnesses.

Sen. John Boozman, a Republican, is up for re-election against Conner Eldridge, a former U.S. attorney and Lonoke native, and Libertarian Frank Gilbert.

In the Second District, Rep. French Hill (R-Little Rock) has a Democratic challenger, Diane Curry, as well as a libertarian opponent, Chris Hayes.

Locally, state Sen. Jane English (R-North Little Rock) and Democrat Joe Woodson, a North Little Rock attorney, are facing off in Dist. 34, which includes North Little Rock, Sherwood and Jacksonville.

There are three competitive state House races in the area: Dist. 42 Rep. Bob Johnson (D-Jacksonville) is being challenged by Patrick Thomas, and Rep. Camille Bennett (D-Lonoke) is up against Lonoke County justice of the peace Roger Lynch.

In Dist. 38, Democrat Victoria Leigh and Republican Carlton Wing, both of North Little Rock, are vying for the seat vacated by Rep. Donnie Copeland, who lost to English in the Republican primary in March. The district includes North Little Rock and about half of Sherwood.

Also in Sherwood, voters will decide two Pulaski County Special School Board races: Gloria Lawrence and Linda Remele in Zone 3, and Shelby Thomas and Cori Burgett Fetters in Zone 4.

Sherwood residents are additionally being asked to approve a measure that will improve parks and give the city flexibility to get the work done faster and cheaper without raising taxes.

Cabot has three competitive aldermen races. Alderman Jon Moore is facing Damon Bivens for the Ward 2, Position 2 seat. Alderman Doyle Tullos has two opponents for his Ward 3, Position 1 seat, Norma Naquin and Wendell Gibson. Alderman Rick Prentice is challenged by Tom Koller in Ward 3, Position 2.

The runoff for the Cabot district judge race will also be decided this election. Judge Joe O’Bryan is trying to fend off Ward City Attorney Clint McGue, who finished first in the March vote, but fell short of the required 50 percent to avoid a runoff. The third candidate, John Flynn, has endorsed McGue.

Beebe Alderman Tracy Lightfoot and Donald Lewis are competing for Ward 2, Position 2.

There will also be several uncontested races listed on ballots throughout the area.

Be an informed voter by preparing yourself before you go to the polls. You can start by reading our extensive election coverage in today’s Leader and the next few editions.