As the official poll date of March 3 approaches, early voting for the preferential primary, nonpartisan general election, and annual school elections begin Tuesday, Feb. 18.
In Columbia County, polls will be open at The Columbia County Annex at 101 Boundary Street from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday. Early voting ends at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 2. Election Day polls will be open 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m.
Columbia County registered voters on March 3 may cast a ballot at any of the six universal polling centers in the county. They are located at the Columbia County Library, 2057 N. Jackson in Magnolia; American Legion Post 3, 325 Legion Drive in Magnolia; McNeil City Hall, 104 Olive in McNeil; Waldo Fire Station, 106 E. Main in Waldo; Emerson Community Center, 202 N. Elm in Emerson; and Taylor City Hall, 101 W. Pope in Taylor. Earlier this month, Calvary Baptist Church was approved by the Columbia County Quorum Court and added as a universal polling center, but the location will not be in operation until the Nov. 3 general election.
The Republican Primary will consist of local, state and national elections.
The local primary will consist of two contested races for Columbia County Justice of the Peace slots. In District 2, Sam Sharp will be pitted against Sharon Godwin and in District 6, Steve R. Lee will face Greg Sanders.
Unopposed races consist of the following candidates: U.S. Senate – Senator Tom Cotton; U.S. Congress District 4 – Representative Bruce Westerman; State Senate District 12 – Charles Beckham;
State Representative District 2 – Representative Lane Jean; State Representative District 5 – Chase McDowell; State Representative District 6 – State Representative Matthew J. Shepherd; Justice of Peace District 1 – Virginia Annette Pate; Justice of Peace District 3 – Russell W. Thomas; Justice of the Peace District 4 – Penny Cook; Justice of Peace District 5 – Rick Waller; Justice of Peace District 9 – Burnie Sharp; Justice of Peace District 11 – Jason Ray; Constable 1 North – Charles A Holt; Constable 2 South – Derek Avery; Constable 3 Magnolia City – Dr. Randal H. Adams; Constable McNeil 4 – John Ferguson; and Constable 7 Taylor – Rick Wyrick.
In the U.S. presidential election, President Donald J. Trump faces two contenders in the Republican primary. He is going against Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente and Bill Weld.
In local and state Democratic primary races, there are no contested races.
The political office and candidate running for each position are listed as follows: U.S. Congress District 4 – William H. Hanson; State Representative District 5 – State Rep. David Fielding; State Senate District 12 – Senator Bruce Maloch; Justice of the Peace District 2 – Stephen K. Stroebele; Justice of the Peace Dístick 7 – Oliver Thomas; Justice of the Peace District 3 – Terry L. Williams; Constable 3 Magnolia City – Kevin "Murph" Murphy; and Constable 5 Waldo – Truman Young.
In the race of the Democratic nominee for U.S. President, the field consists of 18 candidates. They are Tom Steyer, Andrew Yang, Julian Castro, Michael R. Bloomberg, Tulsi Gabbard, John K. Delaney, Amy Klobuchar, Joseph R. Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker, Mosie Boyd, Kamala Harris, Michael Bennet, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Marianne Williamson, Steve Bullock, and Joe Sestak.
NONPARTISAN JUDICIAL ELECTION
In the nonpartisan judicial races, there are three contested races, with one race consisting of a local candidate. For State District Court District 39, Judge David Graham is pitted against Ebony Gulley.
In the race for State Supreme Court Associate Justice Position 4, Judge Morgan "Chip" Welch faces off against Barbara Womack Webb. For Court of Appeals Associate Judge District 5, Court of Appeals Judge Mark Klappenbach goes against James McMenis.
Unopposed nonpartisan judicial races consist of the following races and candidates: Circuit Judge, District 13, Division 3 – Judge Edwin Keaton; Circuit Judge, District 13, Division 4 – Circuit Judge Robin J. Carroll; Circuit Judge, District 13, Division 5 – Circuit Judge David W. Talley Jr.; Circuit Judge, District 13, Division 6 – Spencer G. Singleton.
A Magnolia School District millage election is also on the ballot. The matter must be on the ballot every year. The tax proposed is the same as the current rate, thus the outcome does not affect the present millage rate of 33 mills.
The new early voting chamber at the Columbia County Annex is located on the back, north side wing of the property. A special entrance – other than the main, southern lot – is available for voters and can be entered on the back, east side of the building. There is no voting at the Columbia County Courthouse, as has traditionally been the case. When the Columbia County Clerk’s Office was relocated from the Magnolia square to Boundary Street, so did the early voting center.
By state law, voter identification is required at the polls. Voter registration information and sample ballots can be seen by visiting www.VoterView.org. VoterView is a service of the Arkansas Secretary of State.