UACES Facebook More Than A Dozen Proposed Ballot Measures Filed with State
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More Than A Dozen Proposed Ballot Measures Filed with State

by Kristin Higgins - March 13, 2020

More than a dozen potential ballot issues have been filed with the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office, meaning voters could be asked to sign several different petitions for the November ballot.

Of course, not all groups that have turned in wording for a proposed constitutional amendment or state law will qualify for the ballot. But the number stands in contrast to the one group circulating petitions at this time in 2018.

Legislators last year removed the Attorney General from the citizen initiative process, eliminating the requirement that she first approve the wording of ballot titles before voter signatures could be collected. The Attorney General had been somewhat of a gatekeeper, rejecting ballot titles that were misleading or had other problematic wording.
 
The Attorney General's Office supported the change in the law, with legislators saying ballot issue groups were essentially getting free legal advice on the taxpayer's dime.
 
With the passage of Act 376, groups wanting to put an issue in front of voters now only have to submit the title to the Secretary of State's Office before securing that first signature. (They still have to collect more than 89,000 signatures from voters to qualify for the ballot. That part of the process hasn't changed.)
 
The number of possible measures have varied over the years under the old system. In February 2016, the Attorney General had certified 10 ballot titles for signature gathering. In February 2014, that number was at 7.
 
June 3 is when we have a better idea of whether ballot issue groups are serious about their proposals. That's the deadline for publishing ballot titles in newspapers across the state, which can be a costly endeavor. A proposal can't move forward if the title isn't published by then.
 
July 3 is the deadline for voter signatures to be turned in to the Secretary of State.
 
Visit our website, uaex.edu/ballot, for a list of the 13 ballot measures filed with the Secretary of State's Office.
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