Kristin Higgins Public Policy Center Phone: 501-671-2160 Email: email@example.com
Office: University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service 2301 S. University Avenue Little Rock, AR 72204
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.