Pulaski County election officials expect a robust turnout Nov. 4 thanks to the presidential election battle between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain.
The Times expects Pulaski County voters to demonstrate their typical discernment by favoring Obama, though the balance of Arkansas might not be so friendly. If ever the U.S. needed a change in tone and direction — the cornerstone of the Obama campaign — it's now. McCain's reliable support for the Bush administration policies that have created so many of our ills disqualify him from serious consideration. His judgment, too, is suspect, given his choice of a thoroughly unprepared running mate, Sarah Palin.
The expected heavy turnout of black voters for Obama could have an impact down the ballot as well, perhaps even in some of the statewide ballot issues, particularly a Religious Right-backed effort to make adoption and foster parenting more difficult for single people. The measure is aimed at punishing gay people and, in this, the usual liberal-black coalition falters because of a lack of enthusiasm for gay rights among many influential black church leaders. A lottery proposal for which the Times has little enthusiasm is also before voters.
With that as a lead-in, read on for our look at some of the more interesting races on the ballot in Pulaski this year.