From the historic hallways of the most beautiful state Capitol in our nation, this is Senator Keith Ingram.
This coming weekend is the last opportunity that Arkansas residents will have to vote early for the primary elections.
If you prefer to vote on election day, it will be Tuesday, May 24.
The Secretary of State estimates that voter turnout will be about 20 percent of all registered voters.
That’s about average for a primary election with no presidential races on the ballot.
But it’s still way too low, especially when you consider the number of important Arkansas races on the ballot.
We’re electing a new governor for the first time in eight years.
In fact, the majority of the seven constitutional officers will be new faces. Only two incumbents are seeking re-election – the Land Commissioner and the Secretary of State.
Arkansas will elect new people to take over the office of attorney general, state treasurer, state auditor and lieutenant governor.
Because I am retiring from public office, there will be a new senator replacing me.
Two Democrats and one Republican are running for the seat, which will be Senate District 9 and which will include Crittenden and Phillips Counties and the eastern half of Lee and St. Francis County.
Voters in Crittenden County will elect candidates for the House of Representatives from Districts 35 and 63.
In Lee and Phillips Counties, voters will elect a representative from District 62.
St. Francis County is divided among three House districts. They are districts 37, 62 and 63.
East Arkansas voters will elect a Congressman to represent the First Congressional District in Washington D.C. Three Republicans and one Democrat are seeking the position.
The legislature enacted a new law that requires the Secretary of State to make sample ballots easily accessible on the Internet, and I highly recommend that you take a look at one.
The site is called voterview, so if you Google voterview and Arkansas, it will be the first link to pop up.
Type in your name and birthday, and if you’re a registered voter it will show your voting location, your precinct number and sample ballots for where you live. It also will show locations where you can vote early.
There are three sample ballots to choose from – a Democratic ballot, a Republican ballot and a non-partisan ballot for judicial races.
If you choose a Democratic or a Republican ballot, the non-partisan judicial races will be included on them.
Don’t sit out this election, because so many important positions will be decided this year.
That’s why I’m strongly encouraging everyone to get out and vote. It’s really easy, and it’s really important.
From the Capitol, it is always my great honor and sincere privilege to serve you as your state Senator. This is Keith Ingram.