There will be very little "change" in the voting patterns of Arkansans on March 3 in the state's Preferential Primary.
This will be despite attempts of the state Democratic Party to turn out more voters and enlist voters after the impeachment attempt of President Donald J. Trump.
And the Arkansas Republican Party, despite its wave of control since 2010, seems to lay back and enjoy the ride as the state's dominant party in control of the state's U.S. Senate, Congressional, all the state's Constitutional offices and both the state Senate and State House of Representatives.
So, why go vote in the March 3 Preferential Primaries or the Judicial Non-Partisan Election?
If there is a Primary race in a political party -- say two or more Republicans seeking a nomination for a State House of Representatives seat, the party will need to select its nominee for the November General Election.
There are few Primary races in Arkansas this year, but a few do exist.
The major reason to go to the polls on March 3 is to vote.
Voting is a fundamental privilege as an American.
And we do still need, according to the Arkansas State Constitution, to elect our judges from the state's highest level -- the state Supreme Court, to local Circuit Districts down to the District Court levels in each city/county subdivision.
A sound judiciary is one of the building blocks of a civilized society. The vote in a local judicial election is just as paramount as a vote for a state Representative, state Senator, Governor or almost any other elective office.
Both Washington and Benton County have been holding public forums for judges of late. These forums, usually sponsored by the League of Women Voters or even the Chambers of Commerce, have been well attended.
Judicial candidates, however, seem so bland. This is because they have, perhaps, been prohibited by the legal canons of ethics from saying how they will rule on certain issues which are to appear before them on the bench to rule. But pay attention to these candidates.
An example: A candidate cannot speak out on how they would rule on a specific crime having been in committee but not brought before the courts. Candidates cannot, for example, say they are for or against zoning laws in rural areas if that is an on-going problem in an area. To mark out an intended ruling on a case, yet to appear before their bench, would be inappropriate.
So, then how does one choose a local, district, circuit or even Supreme Court judge?
First and often foremost, the background of the candidates is examined. Educational training often comes next. What has the candidate done since becoming an attorney? Are they involved in civic endeavors? Have these candidates worked within the judicial system or courts, prosecuting, legal defense or had a varied experience to fit the court seat they are seeking while being an attorney.
Does the candidate have the temperament to meet the public, shake hands and seem to carry on a conversation and listen to the voters? Or do you even see these men and women out in our communities?
All these jobs now carry a large publicly announced salary and most have full benefits (i.e. health care, retirement) for the officer holder.
Circuit Court Judges, for example, are paid, $168,096 per year and they are elected to a six-year term.
District Court judges earn $147,000 a year and are elected to a six-year term.
There is a lot more at stake in electing a judge than just the salary to adjudicate over cases in the municipal, district and circuit court cases. These judges are living among us in our communities to make the legal community a fair and just process for all.
Vote on March 3 and ask questions of all the candidates you see who are asking for your vote.
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Maylon Rice is a former journalist who worked for several northwest Arkansas publications. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.
Editorial on 02/05/2020
Print Headline: Voting patterns predicted to change 'little' in primary