Midterm election campaigns are heating up, with the Tuesday general election only days away.
All four of Arkansas’s U.S. House of Representative seats are on the ballot along with all of the Arkansas Constitutional offices.
Arkansas’ 2014 ballot is highlighted by the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sen. Mark Pryor (D), Rep. Tom Cotton (R), Mark H. Swaney (G) and Nathan LaFrance (L), and the race for governor between Asa Hutchinson (R), Mike Ross (D), J. Joshua Drake (G) and Frank Gilbert (L).
Incumbent Congressman Steve Womack (R) faces off against Grant Brand (L) for the U.S. Congress District 03 seat in the House of Representatives, while State Rep. Bruce Westerman (R), Ken Hamilton (L) and James Lee Witt (D) vie for U.S. Congress District 04.
Other state races are for lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer, auditor of state and commissioner of state lands.
After this spring’s Primary Election, Republicans hold a 20 to 11 majority in the Arkansas Senate. Of the four contested races, two are held by Republican incumbents, one by a Democratic incumbent and one race is an open seat.
In the Arkansas House, Republicans hold 35 seats while Democrats hold 27 seats after the Primary Elections. The 38 contested races include 10 races with a Republican incumbent, 16 with a Democrat incumbent and 12 races are for open seats.
Locally, State Rep. Charlene Fite (R) will face off against Taylor Watkins (L) for the State Representative District 80 seat.
Five issues also will be included on the Nov. 4 General Election ballot. Three were referred by the 89th General Assembly and two were placed on the ballot by petition drives.
Issue 1 - An Amendment Empowering the General Assembly to Provide for Legislative Committee Review and Approval of State Agencies’ Administrative Rules.
Referred by the legislature’s SJR7, Issue 1 would change the legislature’s authority in regard to administrative rules created by state agencies from "review" to "review and approve."
Issue 2 - An Amendment Allowing More Time to Gather Signatures on a State-Wide Initiative or Referendum Petition Only if the Petition as Originally Filed Contained at Least 75 percent of the Valid Signatures Required.
Referred by the legislature’s SJR16, Issue 2would require statewide petition drives to have 75 percent of their signatures be deemed valid before earning an additional 30 days to gather signatures if needed.
Issue 3 - An Amendment Regulating Contributions to Candidates for State or Local Office, Barring Gifts from Lobbyists to Certain State Officials, Providing for Setting Salaries of Certain State Officials, and Setting Term Limits for Members of the General Assembly.
Referred by the legislature’s HJR1009, Issue 3 sets term limits at 16 years regardless of chamber, prohibits corporate campaign contributions, sets a citizen salary commission for Constitutional Officers, Legislative and Judicial salaries, prohibits gifts by lobbyists to legislators, and requires legislators to wait two years before registering as lobbyists.
Issue 4 - The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment.
Proposed petition of the people, Issue 4 is the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment which would allow the manufacture, sale, distribution and transportation of intoxicating liquors in the entire state.
Issue 5 - An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage.
Proposed petition of the people, Issue 5 is the Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage.
The Public Policy Center of the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Research and Extension has produced reports of each ballot issue, which can be found at http://www.uaex.edu/business-communities/voter-education/state-ballot-issues.aspx.
Reviews include the popular name, ballot title, description of what is being proposed, why and how the issue got on the ballot, information about the issue and its impact, and what supporters and opponents are saying about the issue.
Early voting is open at the Crawford County Emergency Operations Center Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Monday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Voters are no longer required to bring photo identification, or identification issued by state or federal government, to vote.