September Update: Status of Arkansas Ballot Issues
Four of the five Arkansas ballot issues remain in court, with less than 30 days to go until early voting starts.
Special judges (called "special masters") issued their reports Tuesday on challenges to signatures turned in by supporters of the Arkansas Term Limits Amendment and the Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage.
With so many hearings taking place, here's where each Arkansas ballot issue stands at the moment:
A lot of legal briefs are being written for and against keeping Issue 1 on the Nov. 6 ballot. The Arkansas Secretary of State's Office appealed a Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge's ruling that this tort reform amendment violated a rule that proposals in a constitutional amendment be related. The appeal is before the Arkansas Supreme Court. Briefs were submitted earlier this week, and more are due on Oct. 1 and Oct. 3.
No legal challenges have been filed in court over this proposal to require voters present photographic identification when voting. The Arkansas Supreme Court did hear arguments earlier this month in alawsuit challenging an existing state law that requires voters to provide identification to prove their voter registration. Issue 2 remains on the ballot.
This week, a special judge found flaws with petition pages containing thousands of signatures for this term limit proposal. The flaws were related to paperwork required for canvassers who collect the signatures. When technical issues are revealed, signatures are often disqualified.
With more than 11,000 signatures disqualified, the special judge said the proposal didn't qualify for the November ballot. (Amendments need valid signatures from 84,859 voters). The Arkansas Supreme Court will review the judge's report and other legal briefs before deciding the fate of Issue 3.
This casino amendment has two lawsuits seeking to remove it from the ballot. Both lawsuits say the ballot title is misleading to voters, but the Arkansas Supreme Court has rejected a request to consolidate the cases.
In the first lawsuit, briefs are due Sept. 28. They also continue to be filed in the second lawsuit by Pope County residents seeking to remove Issue 4 from the ballot, with the last filing deadline being Oct. 1.
A special judge found that supporters of an act to increase the Arkansas minimum wage submitted more than enough valid voter signatures for the issue to appear on the ballot. The judge's reportreviewing the signature challenge will now go to the Arkansas Supreme Court to review. Proposed state laws like Issue 5 need at least 67,887 valid voter signatures to earn a spot on the ballot.