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A voter provides his information to poll workers on Election Day in Arkansas2020 Arkansas Statewide Ballot Issues & Referendum

Arkansas is one of 15 states where residents can propose an amendment to the state constitution or refer a state law to voters. Legislators also have the authority to refer up to three amendments to voters.

On this page you will find information about these legislative and citizen-initiated ballot measures. Check back soon for our voter guide.

Similar to past years, court challenges have introduced uncertainty to what ballot measures will be decided by voter this fall. The Arkansas Secretary of State will certify the official 2020 ballot on Aug. 20, but lawsuits may not be decided until closer to Election Day.

Two of the legislature's three amendments are being challenged in court. A lawsuit has been filed to remove Issue 2 and Issue 3 from the ballot.

Referendum. A group seeking a referendum on a new state law has already turned in its signatures and has had its ballot title certified. But the measure is being challenged in court. 

Citizen-initiated measures are up in the air. Groups submitted three ballot issue petitions to the Secretary of State on July 6. Shortly afterward, the Secretary of State said none of the petitions qualified for the November ballot because of problems with paperwork for the people who collected the signatures. The State Board of Election Commissioners has approved only one of the three ballot titles. These decisions have been challenged.

Download our handout with some basic information about 2020 ballot issues.


Proposed 2020 Amendments From the Legislature 

Arkansas legislators voted to put three constitutional amendments on the November ballot. Our Arkansas Ballot Issue Voter Guide detailing those proposals will be posted on this web page in September. 

Below are links to the wording of the three legislatively-referred ballot measures

Blue illustration of a bag of money

Issue 1: Continuing Sales Tax for Road Construction

HJR1018: An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution continuing a one-half percent (0.5%) sales and use tax for state highways and bridges; county roads, bridges and other surface transportation; and city streets, bridges, and other surface transportation after the retirement of the bonds authorized in Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 91.

Download the Proposed Amendment

Red illustration of a capitol building

Issue 2: Changing Legislative Term Limits

SJR15: A constitutional amendment to amend the term limits applicable to members of the General Assembly, to be known as the "Arkansas Term Limits Amendment"

Download the Proposed Amendment

Black illustration of a clipboard with writing

Issue 3: Changing the Citizen-Initiated Ballot Issue Process

HJR1008: A constitutional amendment to amend the process for the submission, challenge, and approval of proposed initiated acts, constitutional amendments and referenda

Download the Proposed Amendment


Referendum On 2020 Ballot

Arkansas' Constitution allows the public to petition for a statewide vote on an act passed by the state legislature. Known as a referendum, this type of statewide ballot measure asks voters for approval or rejection of a new state law. 

Arkansas voters may see such a referendum on their November ballot. Safe Surgery Arkansas submitted more than 53,491 valid voter signatures on a referendum petition to the Secretary of State's Office for a vote on Act 579 of the 2019 legislative session. The referendum is being challenged in court.

Read Act 579 - An Act to Amend the Definition of "Practice of Optometry


What Citizen-Initiated Issues Might Be On My Ballot?

Arkansans can propose new state laws or constitutional amendments on the statewide ballot for voters to decide. This can be a complex and lengthy process. The basic steps involve:

  • Submitting a name (ballot title) and wording of a proposed constitutional amendment or state law to the Secretary of State's Office.
  • Gathering a certain number of voter signatures from at least 15 counties.
  • Publishing the ballot issue title in a newspaper by June 3.
  • Submitting signatures by July 6 to the Secretary of State's Office to review.
  • The Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners certifying the ballot title.

In addition, groups that raise or spend money to support or oppose potential ballot measures must file a Statement of Organization with the Arkansas Ethics Commission and provide quarterly financial updates. 

Below are the proposed citizen-initiated ballot issues whose sponsors submitted voter signatures to the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office on July 6.

Potential 2020 Ballot Measures From the Public

Proposal

Contact Information

Arkansas Citizen’s Redistricting Commission Amendment

Arkansas Voters First website

An Amendment to Require Sixteen Licenses to be Issued for Casino Gaming at Casinos, One in Benton County (to be owned by G-First Ark Gaming, LLC ), One in Boone County (to be owned by Boone County Gaming, LLC), One in Chicot County (to be owned by Lake Village Gaming Associates, LLC), Two in Crittenden County (one each to be owned by West Memphis 1 Gaming Associates, LLC and West Memphis 2 Gaming Associates, LLC), One in Garland County (to be owned by Garland County Gaming Associates, LLC), One in Greene County (to be owned by ASC Transaction Facility, LLC), One in Jefferson County (to be owned by Pine Bluff Gaming Associates, LLC), One in Johnson County (to be owned by Clarksville Gaming Associates, LLC), One in Miller County (to be owned by Texarkana Gaming Associates, LLC), One in Nevada County (to be owned by Prescott Gaming Associates, LLC), Two in Pulaski County ( one each to be owned by Little Rock 1 Gaming Associates, LLC and Little Rock 2 Gaming Associates, LLC), One in Sebastian County (to be owned by Ft. Smith Gaming Associates, LLC), One in St. Francis County (to be owned by Forrest City Gaming, LLC), and One in Washington County (to be owned by Fayetteville Gaming Associates, LLC).

Arkansas Wins in 2020 Social Media Page

A Constitutional Amendment Establishing Top Four Open Primary Elections and Majority Winner General Elections with Instant Runoffs if Necessary

Open Primaries Arkansas website

 

About Our Materials

Since 2004, the Public Policy Center has published easy-to-read fact sheets on statewide ballot measures so voters have a better understanding of what is being asked of them on Election Day. The fact sheets go through a vetting process that includes reviews by attorneys, subject matter experts and issue supporters and opponents. 

What will I find in Extension's ballot voter guide?

  • How the proposal will appear on the ballot
  • Answers to some basic questions about each issue
  • Reasons why people may support or oppose the proposal 

Go Beyond the Fact Sheet

Sign up to receive our monthly email newsletter. Request a presentation to your organization or group. Ballot issue education programs can be requested by contacting your local county extension agent or by contacting the Public Policy Center at 501-671-2160. You can also contact the Center by e-mailing publicpolicycenter@uaex.edu

What Other Elections are Happening?

Arkansas cities and counties often hold elections throughout the year related to property or sales tax or other important local matters. We provide fact sheets on some local issues by request from our county agents. Find out what some of those past issues are here or contact your local County Clerk for more information about what's on your ballot. 

Arkansas Ballot Issues - Fact Sheet Publication Archive

2018 - Arkansas Ballot Issue Voter Guide

Issue 1 - An Amendment Concerning Civil Lawsuits and the Powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court to Adopt Court Rules Struck from the ballot

Issue 2 - A Constitutional Amendment Adding as a Qualification to Vote that a Voter Present Certain Valid Photographic Identification when Casting a Ballot In Person or Casting an Absentee Ballot Voters approved

Issue 3 - Arkansas Term Limits Amendment Struck from the ballot

Issue 4 - An Amendment to Require Four Licenses to be Issued for Casino Gaming at Casinos, One Each in Crittenden (to Southland Racing Corporation), Garland (to Oaklawn Jockey Club, Inc.), Pope, and Jefferson Counties Voters approved

Issue 5 - An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Voters approved


2016 - Arkansas Ballot Issue Voter Guide

Issue 1 - An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning the Terms, Election, and Eligibility of Elected Officials Voters approved

Issue 2 - A Constitutional Amendment to Allow the Governor to Retain His or Her Powers and Duties When Absent From the State Voters approved

Issue 3 - An Amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Concerning Job Creation, Job Expansion, and Economic Development Voters approved

Issue 4 - An Amendment to Limit Attorney Contingency Fees and Non-Economic Damages in Medical Lawsuits Struck from ballot

Issue 5 - An Amendment to Allow Three Casinos to Operate in Arkansas, One Each in the Following Counties: Boone County, operated by Arkansas Gaming and Resorts, LLC; Miller County, operated by Miller County Gaming, LLC; and Washington County, operated by Washington County Gaming, LLC. Struck from ballot

Issue 6 - The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016 Voters approved

Issue 7 - The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act Struck from ballot

2014

Issue 1 - An Amendment Empowering the General Assembly to Provide for Legislative Committee Review and Approval of State Agencies' Administrative Rules Voters approved

Issue 2 - An Amendment Allowing More Time to Gather Signatures on a State-Wide Initiative or Referendum Petition Only if the Petition as Originally Filed Contained at Least 75% of the Valid Signatures Required Voters approved

Issue 3 - An Amendment Regulating Contributions to Candidates for State or Local Office, Barring Gifts from Lobbyists to Certain State Officials, Providing for Setting Salaries of Certain State Officials, and Setting Term Limits for Members of the General Assembly Voters approved

Issue 4 - The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment Voters rejected

Issue 5 - An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Voters approved

2012

Issue Number 1 - Providing Additional Funds for State Highways County Roads, City Street, Bridges, and Other Surface Transportation - FSPPC309 (PDF) - An amendment to provide additional funding for state highways, county roads, city streets, bridges, and other surface transportation. [Spanish - FSPPC309SPVoters approved

Issue Number 2 - Giving Cities and Counties Additional Financing Powers - FSPPC311 (PDF) - An amendment concerning municipal and county financing of sales tax anticipated revenue bond projects, unfunded liabilities of closed local police and fire pension plans, and real and tangible personal property. [Spanish - FSPPC311SP] Voters rejected

Issue Number 3 - An Amendment to Allow Nancy Todd's Poker Palace and Entertainment Venues, LLC to Own and Operate Four Casino Gaming Establishments, One Each in Pulaski, Miller, Franklin and Crittenden Counties. Disqualified; no fact sheet published.

Issue Number 4 - An Amendment to Allow Arkansas Hotels and Entertainment, Inc. to Own and Operate Seven Casino Gaming Establishments, One Each in Sebastian, Pulaski, Garland, Miller, Crittenden, Boone and Jefferson Counties. Disqualified; no fact sheet published.

Issue Number 5 - Making the Medical Use of Marijuana Legal Under Arkansas Law and Creating a System for Cultivation, Acquisition and Distribution - FSPPC310 (PDF) - An amendment to make the medical use of Marijuana legal under Arkansas law and create a system for cultivation, acquisition and distribution. Voters rejected

2011

Issuance of State of Arkansas Federal Highway Grant Anticipation and Tax Revenue Bonds and Pledge of Full Faith and Credit of the State Of Arkansas - FSPPC308 (PDF) - Issuance of State of Arkansas Federal Highway Grant Anticipation and Tax Revenue Bonds and Pledge of Full Faith and Credit of thee State Of Arkansas. Voters approved

2010

Issue No. 1 An Amendment to Provide a Constitutional Right to Hunt, Fish, Trap, and Harvest Wildlife - FSPPC305 (PDF) - An amendment providing that Arkansas citizens have a right to hunt, fish, trap, and harvest wildlife subject to regulations that promote wildlife conservation and management. Voters approved

Issue No. 2 - An Amendment Concerning Interest Rate Limits And The Issuance Of Government Bonds For Energy Efficiency Projects – FSPPC306 (PDF) - An amendment concerning interest-rate limits and the issuance of governmental bonds to finance energy efficiency projects. Voters approved

Issue No. 3 An Amendment to Lower the Threshold For Issuing State Bonds to Attract Major Industries – FSPPC307 (PDF) - An amendment to the Arkansas Constitution Amendment 82 removing fixed criteria for the issuance of economic development bonds bearing the full faith and credit of the state of Arkansas and giving the General Assembly the authority to set criteria through legislation. Voters approved

2008

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1 - FSPPC301 (PDF) - An amendment concerning voting, qualifications of voters and election officers, and the time of holding general elections. Voters approved

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 2 - FSPPC300 (PDF) - An amendment providing that no legislative appropriation shall be for a period longer than one year, providing for fiscal legislative sessions, requiring the General Assembly to meet every year with regular sessions continuing to be held in odd-numbered years and fiscal sessions held in even-numbered years, unless the General Assembly votes to hold regular sessions in even-numbered years and fiscal sessions in odd-numbered years, and allowing the General Assembly to consider non-fiscal matters during a fiscal session upon approval of two-thirds of both houses. Voters approved

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3 - FSPPC304 (PDF) - A constitutional amendment authorizing the General Assembly to establish, operate, and regulate state lotteries to fund scholarships and grants for Arkansas citizens enrolled in certified two-year and four-year colleges and universities in Arkansas. Voters approved

Proposed Initiative Act No. 1 - FSPPC302 (PDF) - An act providing that an individual who is cohabitating outside of a valid marriage may not adopt or be a foster parent of a child less than eighteen years old. Voters approved

Referred Question No. 1 - FSPPC 303 (PDF) - Arkansas Water, Waste Disposal, and Pollution Abatement Facilities Financing Act of 2007 Voters approved

2006

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1 - Bingos and Raffles - PPC001 (PDF) - Proposed Constitutional Amendment to allow Bingo and Raffles to be conducted by charitable organizations and to authorize the General Assembly to adopt laws regulating and taxing charitable Bingo and Raffles. Voters approved

Referred Question No. 1 - Arkansas Higher Education Technology and Facility Improvement Act of 2005 - PPC002 (PDF) - Arkansas Higher Education Technology and Facility Improvement Act of 2005 Voters approved

General Information About Bonds - PPC003 (PDF)

2005

Referred Question No. 1, Arkansas Interstate Highway Financing Act of 2005 - PIEC001 (PDF) - Arkansas Interstate Highway Financing Act of 2005

Referred Question No. 2, Arkansas Higher Education Technology and Facility Improvement Act of 2005 PIEC002 (PDF) - Arkansas Higher Education Technology and Facility Improvement Act of 2005

General Information About Bonds - PIEC003 (PDF)

2004

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1 - To Establish Term Limits for Members of the General Assembly (fact sheet not available) Voters rejected 

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 2 - An Amendment to Allow the General Assembly to Approve the Issuance of General Obligation Bonds for any Economic Development Project that Plans to Invest More than $500 Million in Capitol Expenditures and to Hire More than 500 New Employees Voters approved

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3 - An Amendment Concerning Marriage Voters approved

Referred Question No. 1 - Statewide Property Tax for Schools Voters rejected

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