Today is the big day: the 2020 General Election. Voting will occur at the Calvary Baptist Church in Magnolia, American Legion Post 3 in Magnolia, the Bowman/ Brasher Building at the 1st Baptist Church of McNeil, the Waldo Fire Station, the Emerson Community Center and Taylor City Hall. The Columbia County Library will not be utilized this year. Polls will open at 7:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. but will remain open to those that were in line by that time.
According to Columbia County Clerk Tammy Wiltz, a large number of voters voting on Election Day resulted in her working until 2:30 a.m. during the 2016 election. The Taylor voting center saw 700 voters that year, an extra 600 voters compared to previous elections that Wiltz had worked, she said.
There are three issues on the state ballot. The first issue is over a permanent dedicated 0.5% state sales tax where the revenue from the tax would be used for maintaining, repairing and improving highways, roads and streets across the state. According to records from the Department of Finance and Administration, revenues from the extension of the existing halfcent sales tax total $293,700,000, where 70% is to be used for state highways, 15% for the County Aid Fund and the other 15% for the Municipal Aid Fund. It is supported by State Senator Bruce Maloch (D), State Representative David Fielding (D) and opposed by State Representative Lane Jean (R).
Issue 2 on the ballot is the Arkansas Term Limits Amendment. Currently, Arkansas Congress members can serve 16 years in the State Congress. If issue two is passed, it allows State Congress members to serve for 12 years consecutively before taking a mandatory four-year break before serving again in State Congress. It removes lifetime term limits. Arkansas State Senator for District 12 Bruce Maloch (D) voted against Issue 2 making its way onto the ballot in a State Senate vote, State Representative Lane Jean (R) voted against Issue 2 making its way on the ballot in a House vote while State Representative David Fielding (D) did not vote.
Issue 3 on the ballot is titled Changing Arkansas’ Citizen Initiative Process, Votes Required for Legislative Ballot Issue Proposals and Publication Requirements. If passed, it will change the date when voter signatures are due for statewide ballot measures proposed by the public from four months ahead of the general election to January 15 of the election year, it would establish April 15 of the election year as the deadline for filing lawsuits challenging statewide ballot measures proposed by the public and increase the number of counties where voter signatures must be collected for statewide ballot measure by the public from 15 counties to 45 counties. The bill is supported by the Committee to Protect the Arkansas Constitution and the Arkansans for Arkansans group. It is opposed by Protect AR Voices, Save Arkansas Voter’s Elections, Defend Direct Democracy, Protect AR Rights, the Liberty Initiative Fund and by Citizens in Charge. It is supported by US Senator Tom Cotton and State Representative Lane Jean (R). It is opposed by State Senator Bruce Maloch (D). State Representative David Fielding (D) voted present on the matter.
Columbia County residents will also vote for the President of the United States, US House Arkansas District Four, US Senate Arkansas, Arkansas State Senate District 12 and Arkansas House of Representative District 5. A sample ballot is a available by visiting countyofcolumbia.org and clicking on the County Clerk tab.