House District 53 runoff still on; more closures and cancellations reported

by George Jared ([email protected]) 340 views 

Coronavirus has shuttered nearly every public event and has impacted businesses throughout Northeast Arkansas. But, at least one runoff race is still slated to be held later this month.

The House District 53 race between Republicans Dr. Cole Peck and Lake City Mayor Jon Milligan is still scheduled to be held Tuesday, March 31 and early voting will start one week before the election, Craighead County Clerk Kade Holliday said on Tuesday (March 17). Absentee ballot applications have to be received no later than March 24, he added.

The two candidates are vying to replace State Rep. Dan Sullivan, R-Jonesboro, who was elected to the State Senate earlier this month.

“In light of recent events concerning the COVID-19 virus, the Craighead County Clerk’s office is notifying eligible voters of the Presidential Primary Runoff of the following updates from the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners. We are thankful for their dedication to disseminating information in a speedy fashion and in ensuring a safe election process occurs during these rapidly evolving times,” he said.

“As there has been no action from the governor to call a special session of the General Assembly to alter the dates of the primary or early voting, things will go on according to schedule with additional safety measures implemented to ensure your safety as best as possible,” Holliday said.

The Arkansas Highway Commission and the Department of Transportation (ARDOT) has canceled two upcoming public meetings due to the current health risk situation, according to department officials. ARDOT and the commission have been hosting a series of regional public meetings around the state regarding the upcoming vote on the continuation of the temporary half-cent sales tax. The meetings canceled include a March 30 meeting in Batesville and a March 31 meeting in Jonesboro.

Effective Wednesday (March 18), Arkansas State University Heritage Sites will not be open for visitors and tour groups throughout the rest of March and during April.

The university made the decision in response to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations designed to reduce or eliminate the spread of the coronavirus, according to Dr. Adam Long, Heritage Sites director.

“We believe this precautionary action is in the best interest of both the visitors who tour the sites and the facility staffs,” Long added.

The ASU Heritage Sites include the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center at Piggott; Historic Dyess Colony: Johnny Cash Boyhood Home at Dyess; Lakeport Plantation at Lakeport; Southern Tenant Farmers Museum at Tyronza; and the Historic V.C. Kays House on the Jonesboro campus.