Mike McNeill

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com.

Issue 2 on the Arkansas election ballot is the latest tinkering with the idea of limiting the amount of time Arkansas public officials may remain in office. While it is mislabeled as the “Arkansas Term Limits Amendment” it is, in fact, a term extension amendment. It provides a means for presently term-limited Arkansas state senators and representatives to sit out for a while and then be returned to elective office. For the love of Pete. They just don’t get it. Personally, we don’t believe in term limits. We believe in elections. If we like our present representation, we should keep it. If we don’t, we should vote the representation out. But, we recognize that we’re in a political minority on this. Arkansas voters have spoken on many occasions of their desire to limit the number of terms people may be in elective office. They don’t want political leadership to run out the clock, skip a term and come back. They want politicians to serve their time in office, then take a bow. Issue 2 circumvents that desire and should be voted down.

Faith Elliott, vice president of Operations for Amfuel, will speak to the Rotary Club of Magnolia during its meeting at noon Thursday at the LifeSmart Center. It will be a timely appearance with the announcement that the company is acquiring the former Shanhouse building for its aircraft fuel cell manufacturing process. The news that came from Monday’s Magnolia City Council meeting was truly welcome. It will give Amfuel the room it needs to grow while providing steady employment to hundreds of people.

It’s been 50 years since Shanhouse owner Leonard Shanhouse and his pilot were killed in an airplane crash near El Dorado’s Goodwin Field (February 23, 1970). Ironic that the Shanhouse building should become the manufacturing facility for a vital aircraft safety feature.

We had our oldest Shanhouse suit for the longest time but gave it up a few moves ago.

The Magnolia City Council Fire Committee meeting set for today has been cancelled.

Abundance of caution.

If you want to vote by absentee ballot, today’s the deadline to submit an application for one. If you get one, don’t wait. Follow the directions closely. Mail it or have it returned to the County Clerk’s office as soon as possible. Mailed ballots must bear a postmark no later than Tuesday, November 3. With the Magnolia Post Office, that effectively means a 4 p.m. deadline for ballots mailed inside the post office (as opposed to being dropped into the outdoor box).

Let’s look at the election numbers. Columbia County has 12,998 people eligible to vote in the November 3 general election. Through Monday, 3,920 people had voted early. That’s 30.1 percent of the maximum possible vote. If the final six days of early voting period match the 560 daily average of the first seven days, 7,280 people will have voted early, or 56 percent of the 12,998 possible votes. Of course, there’s never 100 percent participation in an election. So, let’s consider that in the year 2016, 8,887 votes were cast in Columbia County for all presidential candidates. The current actual vote count is 44.1 percent of that total. If the early voting average holds, 81.9 percent (7,280) will have voted at the close of the early voting period on Monday afternoon. It does appear that Columbia County is set to crush the 2016 vote total. Can we hit 75 percent, or 9,749 votes?

By way of comparison, 7,147 votes were cast in the 2014 Columbia County alcohol election.

Mike McNeill is publisher and editor of magnoliareporter.com. Email him at news@magnoliareporter.com or call 870-904-3865.

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