January 2, 2008 Edition

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Feb. 5 presidential primary
to kick off 2008 election year

John Bland
Publisher

The 2008 election year kicks off in just a few weeks with the Arkansas Presidential Preferential Primary election on Feb. 5.

In 2005, Arkansas' 85th General Assembly approved the bill to move the state's presidential primary from May to the first Tuesday in February. Then Gov. Mike Huckabee, who is on the Republican ballot as candidate for president, signed the bill into law.

Despite the cost of a separate election, proponents of the early presidential primary saw it as a way for Arkansas to play a bigger role in helping determine which party's presidential candidates make it onto the General Election ballot. However, many other states have also moved their presidential primary to earlier dates in 2008.

Over 20 states have scheduled their contests for Tuesday, Feb. 5, the earliest date allowed by the parties without special exception, reported The New York Times. Six states are holding elections in January, including: Iowa, Jan. 3; New Hampshire, Jan. 8; Michigan, Jan. 15; Nevada, Jan. 19; South Carolina, Jan. 26; and Florida, Jan. 29.

Voter registration deadline is Monday

The last day to register to vote in Arkansas' Presidential Preferential Primary is Monday. Lawrence County Clerk Tina Stowers said those in doubt about their voter registration status can contact her office or check on the Internet at www.firstnaturally.org. At that site, one can search the voter registration information by typing in one's name and birth date.

Absentee, early voting

Absentee and early voting for the presidential primary will be conducted through the county clerk's office at the courthouse beginning Monday, Jan. 28, and continuing through Monday, Feb. 4. Stowers said voting will be conducted from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, during those dates.

Feb. 5 election

Voters will have the option of using either a paper ballot or electronic ballot in this election.

Election commissioners have made one change that will begin with this election, said Stowers. The voting location for the Campbell 4, Cache and Richwoods precincts has been changed. Voters in these precincts, who have traditionally voted at the courthouse, will now vote at the Walnut Ridge Community Center, along with the other Campbell precincts, she added.

Three ballot choices

When voters go to the polls, they will be required to tell election officials which one of three party ballots that they desire to vote. The choices are: Democrat, Green Party of Arkansas and Republican.

Lawrence County Election Commissioners John Allen, Lee Turnbull and Patricia Whitmire previously drew presidential candidates' names for their ballot positions. The candidates' names will appear as follows:

Democrat

Hillary Clinton

John Edwards

Joe Biden

Christopher J. Dodd

Mike Gravel

Dennis J. Kucinich

Bill Richardson

Barack Obama

Green Party of Arkansas

Kat Swift

Jared A. Ball

Cynthia McKinney

Kent Mesplay

Republican

John McCain

Rudy Giuliani

Fred Thompson

Ron Paul

Mitt Romney

Mike Huckabee

Other elections

The Arkansas Secretary of State's website lists the other 2008 elections on the following dates:

May 20 ~ Preferential Primary Election and Nonpartisan General Election.

June 10 ~ Primary Election Runoff.

Sept. 16 ~ Annual School Election.

Nov. 4 ~ General Election, including county and municipal elections.

Nov. 25 ~ General Election Runoff.

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