Early voting for the Arkansas general election officially began at 8 a.m. Monday in the County Clerk’s Office at the Phillips County Courthouse. The hours to vote are Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Early voting will end at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov.1, the day before the general election.

 

Early voting for the Arkansas general election officially began at 8 a.m. Monday in the County Clerk’s Office at the Phillips County Courthouse. The hours to vote are Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Early voting will end at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov.1, the day before the general election.
There are several key races on the state, county and local levels. Incumbent Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln, a Helena native, faces perhaps the toughest race of her political career against Republican challenger John Boozman. Republicans also are hoping to pick up two congressional seats in traditionally Democratic stronghold districts.
According to the Associated Press, Secretary of State Charlie Daniels predicts that 54 percent of the state’s 1.6 million registered voters will cast a ballot in the upcoming election. Nearly one-third of those votes will be cast by absentee or early ballots.
If Daniels’ prediction turns out to be accurate, it would be the highest turnout for a midterm election in the state since 1994. That year, 56 percent of Arkansas voters cast a ballot. About 48 percent of the voters cast a ballot in the 2006-midterm elections.
The retirement of Marion Berry created an open seat in the 1st Congressional District where Democrat Chad Causey, Berry’s former chief of staff, will face off against Republican Rick Crawford.
On the city level, almost every Helena-West Helena city office is up for grabs. Incumbent Mayor James Valley has two challengers, Arnell Willis and current alderman Bruce Hudson. Long-time City Clerk Sandi Ramsey drew three opponents, Eddie Lee, Belinda Covington and Howard Eaton.
James Jones and Patrick Roberson are challenging incumbent treasurer Michael Boone. Incumbent Andre Valley and Chalk Mitchell will battle for the city attorney’s post.
On the Helena-West Helena City Council, Eddie Clark, Omar Liddell and Lorna Thomas, will all vie for the Ward 1, Position 1 council seat. Trece Shepherd Williams and Daniel Strickland are seeking the Ward 1, Position 2 seat. Shirley Davis Foreman is attempting to unseat incumbent Joe St. Columbia in Ward 2, Position 1. Jay Hollowell is uncontested for his Ward 2, Position 2, and seat.
Christopher Franklin is running against incumbent Larry Wilson for the Ward 3, Position 1 seat. Challenger Lakesia Chandler is after incumbent Joe Grubbs’ Ward 3, Position 2 seat. Incumbent Tommy Hunt will square off against Larry Brown for Ward 4, Position 1.
Four candidates are running for Ward 4, Position 2. They are incumbent John Washington and challengers Maurice Hopkins, Vincent Bell and Monica Davis. Vivian Holder wants incumbent Marvin Jarrett’s Ward 5, Position 1 post; and Nancy Holder Heard is challenging incumbent Don Etherly for Ward 5, Position 2.
The only other contested city elections are in Lake View where Darrin Davis will challenge incumbent Mayor Henrietta Wilson. Two city council seats have competition. James McChristian and Man Childs are locked in a battle for Ward 2, Position 2 and David Anderson and Dorothy Johnson are seeking the Ward 4, Position 2 seat.
All city candidates are running as independents.
Most of the county positions were settled in the May Democratic Primary. However, there are three independent challengers in three justice of the peace districts. Democrat Isaac Tribune will face independent Edward Joshaway in District 4. Incumbent C. R. Walker will take on independent John Gause in District 7 and Lenora Marshall, Democrat, will face independent Edwin Davis in District 11.
There are two races for constable. In the Hornor Township, Mike Strickland, Democrat and Wesley Bryan, Republican will square off. In the Upper Big Creek Township, Democrat Terry Fuller will face a challenge from a write-in candidate.
There are a few other state races that Phillips County voters will participate. In the race for governor, incumbent Democrat Mike Beebe will try to hold off a challenge from Republican Jim Keet, a restaurant owner and former legislator from Little Rock. For lieutenant governor Shane Broadway and Republican Mike Barr are locked in a tight race. Pulaski County Clerk Pat O’ Brien, a Democrat, and Republican state Rep. Mark Martin are battling it out for the secretary of state’s office. Democrat L.J. Bryant and Republican John Thurston are seeking the office of land commissioner.
The Associated Press also contributed to this report.