Early voting started 6 days ago on Monday and Election Day, Nov. 6th, is just a week and a half away.  If you haven’t already registered to vote it’s too late for this election but, you can register now while you’re thinking about it so you’ll be ready for the next one in 2020.  If you’re not sure if you’re registered you can quickly find out by going on the net at:

     www.voterview.ar-nova.org/VoterView/RegistrantSearch.do

In addition to telling you whether you’re legal to vote, the site will also give you a history of the dates you’ve voted in the past in Arkansas and which ballot you’ll be using in this election.  The ballots are slightly different because of local races but, the main issues are the same.  In the meantime, what are we voting on this time and why is it so important?

    

The Sun-Times has already published a sample ballot on-line to help us understand who and what we’re voting for / or against as the case may be.  This election is almost as critical as 2016 when the nation put Trump into the Presidency.  Both that election and this one are a battle of ‘Isms’ - Liberalism, Leftism, Conservatism, Socialism and Capitalism – Pick One!  What direction do We, the People, want our country to go?  Although it’s a personal choice for you, the collective outcome poses a long lasting and potentially dangerous condition for our generation and future generations to come. That’s true of both the election of candidates for Congress in addition to issues relating solely to Arkansas. With that in mind, here’s your ballot for 2018:

A.  US Congress:  3 Candidates – Republican, Libertarian or Democrat.

B.  Arkansas:  Governor; Lt. Governor; Attorney General; Secretary of State; State      

Treasurer; Auditor of State and Commissioner of Lands. 

Most of the above choices offer 3 candidates – Libertarian, Democrat and Republican not necessarily in that order.  To make it as fair as possible, the parties take turns being in 1st, 2nd or 3rd position on the ballot.  If you’re the type of voter that blindly checks off the 1st box in every category you’ll wind up with an interesting result!

C.  State Supreme Court: Two non-partisan candidates.

D.  Cleburne County: County Judge: Republican and Independent followed by the Circuit Clerk which only has one choice – a Republican.

E.   Now we get into the Issues.  There are 4 of them and these are interesting.  I’ll try to simplify them in layman terms while hopefully retaining the flavor.  However, I strongly recommend you look them up yourself to fully understand what’s being decided.

Issue 1:  Should we put a Cap or Limit on Lawsuit Damages?  This issue suggests a $500,000 (Half a Million Dollar) limit is reasonable on both Punitive (Punishing the person or company that caused the loss because of irresponsibility e.g. a tort) as well as Non-Economic Damages (E.g. Pain and Suffering).  It also proposes that whenever a lawyer takes a case where they are paid a percentage of the award then the lawyer’s share should be limited to a maximum of 1/3 of the award.  The two major groups opposing each other on this issue are doctors VS lawyers. Liability claims and jury awards have gotten insane lately and we’ve all seen the bad examples.  I‘ll vote Yes on this issue.

Issue 2:  Should we Require Photo ID to Vote when voting in person or casting an absentee ballot and if a person does not have a Photo ID the State of Arkansas will issue the Photo ID without charge.  This is a No Brainer to me!  Voting is one of our rights as a citizen and access to our ballot boxes must be protected.  This is critical!  I’ll vote Yes on this issue.

 Issue 3:  Term Limits for the Arkansas General Assembly.  This issue proposes restricting candidates to serving 3 two year terms as a Representative to the State House and 2 four year terms as a State Senator.  For those candidates that get elected to both houses it would limit their service to a combined 10 years.  Note that this does Not apply to our congressional delegations to DC.  This issue was placed on the ballot by a statewide petition. 

I’m a supporter of term limits and I wish this was also aimed at Washington.  I’ll vote Yes on this.

Issue 4: Should Arkansas issue 4 casino licenses in the state.  One license would be for Southland (Greyhound) Racing for a casino in West Memphis.  The 2nd license would go to the Oaklawn Jockey Club for a casino in Hot Springs.  The 3rd and 4th licenses would be put up for bid and designated for casinos in Pine Bluff and Russellville areas.  I know that a lot of people gamble at casinos and some actually make money from it – for a while!  However, the vast majority of us don’t.  Many of us will bet on special events like office pools for the Super Bowl, World Series etc. Then there’s always a friendly game of poker, pinochle or whatever but, you rarely lose huge life changing amounts.  We already have 2 casinos in Arkansas and the lotteries.  If this is approved all it will do is make it easier for the gambling addicts among us to destroy their lives more easily.  Call me a spoilsport but, I’ll vote No on this.

End of rant.  Have a blessed day.