On Nov. 8, White County residents entered the courthouse to vote on more than just the presidential election. Four measures, three legislative and one initiative, that appeared on the Arkansas ballot passed.
Issue 1 changes the term of elected officials from two-year to four-year terms. White County resident Haydn Bryant voted in favor of Issue 1.
“Two years is not long enough for an official to establish the necessary relationship with the community needed to push their agenda,” Bryant said. “A four-year term will allow officials time to see the results that are needed to show how effective they have been.”
Issue 2 allows the governor to remain in charge when traveling out of state instead of temporarily appointing the lieutenant governor in the governor’s absence. Harding alumna Rachel Moran voted on Election Day for the first time as an Arkansas resident in favor of passing Issue 2.
“The governor serves as a good ambassador for the state of Arkansas,” Moran said. “The governor helps with inner state trade and bills that benefit Arkansas in Congress and as a result benefit the state of Arkansas. The president is still doing his job when he travels outside the United States, so why shouldn’t the governor be allowed the same right?”
Issue 3 eliminates the amount of bonds Arkansas can issue to bring businesses to the state. Issue 3 is in response to the economic development plan placed in 2004, that could not proceed because bonds were capped at 5 percent, according to KATV. Issue 3 has the capability to bring new jobs to the state.
Issue 6 will allow the use of medical marijuana under 17 conditions. In Arkansas 53.2 percent of voters supported Issue 6, according to the New York Times. White County did not vote in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. Of the 27,151 residents who voted in White County, only 12,448 voted in favor of Issue 6, while 14,703 voted against Issue 6. Arkansas will be the first state in the Bible Belt to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
Senior Carter House is a resident of Searcy who voted in favor of passing Issue 6.
“I went to high school in a state where marijuana was medically legal,” House said. “I knew people whose families truly benefited from the use of medical marijuana. It was heavily regulated and only prescribed in extremely necessary cases.”
Arkansas State Senate had 17 seats up for election; in the general election, Republicans gained two seats. Seven Democratic candidates, five being incumbents, ran in the 2016 election. According to Ballotpedia, that is less than half of the Democratic candidates that filed to run in 2010.
Overall, the Arkansas State Senate has 26 Republican members and nine Democratic members as of Nov. 8, 2016. Republican Senator John Woods and Democratic Senator David Johnson did not run for office and instead chose to retire.