Election Day is March 1. Polls will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
The state Legislature moved the 2016 party primaries and nonpartisan judicial elections to March joining 14 other states holding primaries on March 1.
Proponents of the change say it gives the South more input in selecting a president. Others argue that a March primary reduces interest in local, state and judicial races, and was designed to help incumbents since the time available for campaigning is significantly reduced. Regardless of the reason, it’s election time in Arkansas.
Heading the ballots are the presidential candidates.
Less than half of more than a dozen Republican candidates remained in the race following the New Hampshire primary and a poor showing in the South Carolina primary and Nevada caucuses could end the campaign for even more candidates. Major candidates still competing for the GOP nomination are Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and Donald Trump. Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham, Bobby Jindal and George Pataki and Rick Santorum have all ended their campaigns.
Democrats on the Arkansas ballot include Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, Rogue “Rocky” De La Fuente, Martin J. O’Malley, James Valentine, Roque De La Fuente and John Wolfe, who raised eyebrows in 2012 when he received 42 percent of the vote running against President Obama in Arkansas. O’Malley ended his campaign after the Iowa caucuses.
Arguably the most contentious statewide race is that for the top spot on the Arkansas Supreme Court where Associate Justice Courtney Goodson and Circuit Judge Dan Kemp of Mountain View are seeking the chief justice position.
The winner will replace Chief Justice Howard Brill, who is inelgible to run because he was appointed to the position. Brill was appointed by Gov. Asa Hutchinson to complete the term of the late Jim Hannah, who resigned in August due to health reasons.
Little Rock attorney Clark Mason and Circuit Judge Shawn Womack are seeking an associate justice position on the Arkansas Supreme Court. The winner will replace Justice Paul Danielson. Danielson is not seeking another eight-year term on the court.
There is three-way race for the District 5 position on the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
Mark Klappenbach of Fordyce, James McMenis of Smackover, and Job Serebrov of Sheridan are all seeking the seat. The winner will replace Mike Kinard, who was appointed to replace Justice Robin Wynne after Wynne was elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court. Kinard is ineligible to run for the position.
The district includes Ashley, Bradley, Calhoun, Cleveland, Columbia, Dallas, Drew, Grant, Lafayette, Lincoln, Nevada, Ouachita and Union counties.
In Southeast Arkansas, voters in Ashley, Bradley, Chicot, Desha and Drew counties will elect new district judges. The Arkansas Legislature in April 2015 merged the district courts to be presided over by one full time judge.
Southeast Arkansas voters will also see some contested local partisan races on their ballot.
Bob G. Ware, a university administrator from McGehee, hopes to unseat District 11 State Rep. Mark McElroy.
McElroy, a Democrat from Tillar, is currently serving his second term. He is a retired Desha County judge and a farmer.
Ware, a Democrat from McGehee, is the vice chancellor of the University of Arkansas at Monticello College of Technology at McGehee.