UACES Facebook Arkansas State Ballot Issues | 2016 nonpartisan information

State Ballot Issues in Arkansas

Two women review a sample ballot before voting.Arkansas is one of 18 states where residents can propose an amendment to the state constitution. Legislators also have the authority to refer up to three amendments to voters.

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. The fact sheets go through a vetting process that includes reviews by attorneys, subject matter experts and issue supporters and opponents.

You can find Extension's ballot issue voter guide posted here near election time.

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 

What did Voters Approve in 2016?

Arkansas voters passed all four constitutional amendments on the 2016 ballot. You can read Extension's 2016 Arkansas Ballot Issue Voter Guide for more information about the various ballot measures. Our archive of past years can be found at the bottom of this page.

2018 Arkansas Ballot Issues - Educate Yourself

Arkansas legislators convened the 91st General Assembly on Jan. 9. They submitted 31 proposed constitutional amendments. The state constitution limits them to putting three proposals on the ballot. Legislators have since agreed on two amendments to refer to the November 2018 ballot.

Those amendments are:

  • SJR8 - An Amendment Concerning Civil Lawsuits and the Powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court to Adopt Court Rules. Read the full proposal.
  • HJR1016 - 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. Read the full proposal

Petitions from the public can circulate at any time after the Attorney General approves a ballot title. Keep up to date on what ballot titles have been approved by reading our monthly email newsletter

Go Beyond the Fact Sheet

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.

Arkansas Voter Information - News & Publications

  • News & Notes - 2017 Ballot Issue Newsletters

    AG Rejects Opposing Tort Measure - July 2017

    A proposed ballot measure that would compete with one submitted to voters by the Legislature was rejected this month after its popular name was deemed partisan.

    Highway Commission to Pursue Ballot Issue for Road Funding - June 2017

    Arkansas Highway Commissioners are pinning their hopes for additional highway funding on voters.

    New Law Require Ballot Issue Groups to Pay Back State - May 2017

    The Secretary of State's Office paid more than $1.7 million last year to advertise Arkansas' ballot measures, a cost they expect to partially recoup in future years after the recent passage of Act 982.

    Voter ID, "Tort Reform" Amendments on 2018 Ballot - April 2017

    Arkansas voters will decide in November 2018 whether showing photo identification should be an official requirement of voting and whether to establish dollar limits for financial damages in certain types of lawsuits.

    Arkansas Voters to Decide Voter ID, "Tort Reform" Amendments - March 2017

    At least two constitutional amendments will appear on Arkansas' 2018 ballot and it's possible legislators will add more voter questions to the ballot before they go home next month. 

    Voter ID, "Tort Reform" Among 31 Ballot Proposals Filed - February 2017 

    Arkansas legislators filed 31 proposed constitutional amendments for the 2018 ballot. Limited by law to a maximum of three measures, legislators will quickly whittle the list down in committee meetings in coming weeks. 

    Legislators Considering Limiting Their Own Proposals - January 2017

    The 91st General Assembly is underway. Scores of bills have been filed yet there's still just the one constitutional amendment proposal that was filed before the start of the January session. 

  • News & Notes - 2016 Ballot Issue Newsletters

    Legislative Session Means 2018 Ballot Discussion - December 2016

    Just one bill seeking to alter the Arkansas Constitution has been pre-filed in the run-up to the start of the 2017 legislative session.

    Arkansas Voters Approve All Four Ballot Measures - November 2016

    Arkansas voters overwhelmingly approved three constitutional amendments offered up by the legislature, and became the latest state Tuesday to legalize the growing, sale and use of marijuana for medical purposes.

    Election Day is Here - November 2016

    Polling places open in less than 24 hours for Election Day in Arkansas.

    Supreme Court Strikes Issue 7 from Ballot - October 2016

    The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday that votes cast on Issue 7 will not be counted. The court ruling disqualifying The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act comes on the fourth day of early voting for the 2016 General Election. 
     

    Early Voting Starts Monday - October 2016

    Early voting in Arkansas starts Monday. Not sure where to vote? Most early voting in our state takes place at the county clerk's office, but contact your county clerk for more information.

    Supreme Court Knocks Two Issues Off Ballot - October 2016

    The 2016 Arkansas ballot just got a little bit shorter. The Arkansas Supreme Court on Thursday removed Issue 4 and Issue 5 from the ballot.

    Arkansas Ballot Issue Voter Guide Now Available - September 2016

    With seven ballot issues to decide in November, your five minutes in the voting booth might fly by. Go prepared by reading the 2016 Arkansas Ballot Issues Voter Guide published by the Public Policy Center at the Cooperative Extension Service.

    Medical Lawsuit Amendment Qualifies for the Ballot - August 2016

    As Election Day draws closer, voters have a slightly better idea of what constitutional amendments and state laws will be on the ballot to decide. Since the last News & Notes, a proposed amendment that asks voters to give state legislators the authority to pass laws regarding attorney fees and money awarded for pain and suffering in medical-injury lawsuits has qualified for the ballot.

    Medical Cannabis Act Qualifies for 2016 Ballot - July 2016

    Voters will have another say on whether Arkansas should legalize marijuana for medical purposes after the Secretary of State's Office declared that The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act had enough voter signatures to put a proposed law on the November ballot.

    Signature Deadline Looming Over Citizen Groups - June 2016

    If you've gone to a festival lately, filled up your gas tank or even spent the day at the zoo, it's likely you've run into somebody asking you to sign a ballot issue petition. Citizen groups have less than a month to collect signatures to qualify their issues for the November ballot.

    Group Seeking Spot on Ballot for Medical Lawsuit Rules - May 2016

    When they met in 2015, legislators filed at least nine proposed constitutional amendments concerning legal proceedings in civil cases. None of those proposals made it to the ballot. Now a citizen group, Health Care Access for Arkansans, is seeking a spot on the November ballot for a constitutional amendment that would affect how much money could be collected for medical injuries.

    Supreme Court Selection Process Under Review - April 2016

    Should Arkansas voters stop electing state supreme court judges and turn over the duty to the governor? Legislators in recent weeks have debated this idea and the possibility of referring the matter to voters in the November election.

    Campaign Reports Reveal Ballot Issue Support/Opposition - March 2016

    Before campaign signs ever pop up in yards and street medians, supporters or opponents of a ballot issue register with the Arkansas Ethics Commission to essentially say they will be spending money and time on an election.

    Voters Won't Find Petitions for Every Proposal - February 2016

    When you look at the bottom of this e-mail, you will find a long list of potential ballot issues whose sponsors have the official OK to circulate them for signatures needed to put the issues on the November ballot. But that doesn't mean you will find petitions for all of them

    Groups Busy Gathering Signatures, A Look Ahead - January 2016

    Signature gathering is well underway for issues that could make the November 2016 ballot.

  • News & Notes - 2015 Ballot Issue Newsletters

     Ballot Issues Approved for Signatures up to 10 - December 2015

    The list of possible measures to be decided on in the November 2016 election continues to grow. 

    Second Poll Shows Support for Medical Marijuana - November 2015

    A second statewide poll found growing support among Arkansas residents for allowing marijuana use for medical purposes.

    Do Ballot Issues Make You Pay Attention? - October 2015

    Nearly a year after voting in the 2014 election, can you recall any of the five ballot issues? How about naming any of the 2016 ballot issues?

    Medical Marijuana Subject of Panel Discussion, Poll - September 2015

    Viewers of a Little Rock television station had the opportunity to watch a televised panel discussion about medical marijuana proposals that could wind up on the 2016 ballot.

    Voters Could See More Change to Term Limits - August 2015

    When voters went to the polls in November 2014, they approved a constitutional amendment that allowed legislators to serve 16 years total in the House or Senate in place of the chamber-specific maximum of six years for representatives and eight years for senators.

    Group Ends Effort for Referendum on Act 137 - July 2015

    Arkansans to Protect Local Rights recently ended its effort to put a new state law up for a vote on the 2016 ballot.

    Arkansans See Growing List of Issues from the Public - June 2015

    The list of potential 2016 ballot issues is growing, with the Attorney General's approval of an eighth potential issue last week for signature gathering.

    Signature Collection Underway for Ballot Issues - May 2015

    Multiple groups are in the process of collecting signatures to add their ballot issues to the November 2016 election. One of those groups - Arkansans to Protect Local Rights - doesn't have very long to gather signatures from registered voters. The group is attempting to put Act 137 on the ballot to ask voters whether the law should be kept or discarded.

    Legislature Sends 3 Issues to 2016 Ballot  - April 2015

    For a moment, it seemed as if Arkansans wouldn't have any ballot issues to vote on in November 2016. Legislators had said they couldn't come to an agreement on any of the 41 proposed constitutional amendments and wouldn't refer any of them to the public, the first time that would happen since 1971. But on their last day of the session, legislators came together and agreed on three proposals to send to the public. 
     

    Legislature Narrowing Down Amendment Priorities - March 2015

    Arkansas legislators are closer to deciding which ballot issues they will refer to voters on the November 2016 ballot. On Friday, members of the House State Agencies and Governmental Affairs Committee decided they would recommend five of the 25 constitutional amendments filed by state representatives to a joint committee with the Senate for further review.

    Ballot Deadline Passes for Legislature - February 2015

    Over the next two months, legislators will work their way through dozens of proposed constitutional amendments to come up with the three issues they want to refer to voters in November 2016. 

    Arkansas Legislature in SessionJanuary 2015

    Members of the 90th General Assembly started work Monday at the state capitol. Arkansas legislators will be in session for the next few months proposing and debating bills that could become laws. It's during this time that legislators propose constitutional amendments for the 2016 ballot.

  • News & Notes - 2014 Ballot Issue Newsletters

    Panelists Discuss, Explain Issue 3 - December 2014 

    Less than five hours after the polls closed Nov. 4, a constitutional amendment approved by voters that very day took effect. A month after the election, Arkansans are trying to better understand the impact of their decision to restrict lobbyist spending at the state capitol, to create a new panel overseeing pay for elected officials, and to make changes to legislative term limits.

    Election Day is Today - November 2014 

    Election Day is here. Polls are open until 7:30 p.m.

    State Supreme Court OKs Minimum Wage Issue for Nov. 4 Ballot - October 2014 

    Arkansans will vote on a proposal to increase the state's minimum wage after the State Supreme Court rejected a request to remove Issue 5 from the 2014 ballot. 

    Early Voting Underway in Arkansas - October 2014

    Arkansans had their first opportunity Monday to cast votes in the 2014 election, which included ballot issues such as the Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment that survived a court challenge. 

    Three Issues Still Under Court Review - October 2014

    Opponents of several 2014 ballot issues have taken to billboards, radio and even a State Fair booth to highlight their viewpoints, but voters will have to wait a little longer to find out if Issues 3, 4 and 5 are on the state ballot.

    Fact Sheets on 2014 Ballot Issues Now Available - October 2014

    New ethics rules for state elected officials, statewide alcohol sales and a raised minimum wage are among the five issues voters will be asked to decide upon when they go to the polls on Nov. 4. To help voters understand the complexity of the issues and the arguments on both sides, the Public Policy Center of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture has developed easy to understand fact sheets on each ballot item. 

    Alcohol, Minimum Wage Make the Ballot But Lawsuit Filed - September 2014

    The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Amendment has enough signatures to make the November ballot, but retailers opposed to the amendment filed a lawsuit earlier this month in an attempt to kick it off the ballot.

    Last Weekend for Ballot Groups to Seek Signatures - August 2014 

    Two ballot groups seeking a spot on the November 2014 general election ballot should know their fate next week. Aug. 21 is the deadline for the Secretary of State's Office to tell local counties what will be on the ballot in terms of ballot issues. 

    Ballot Groups Missed Deadline for Ballot, Attorney Says - July 2014 

    Like many people on July 4, Secretary of State employees had the day off. The state Capitol building was closed. Because of the national holiday, the published deadline to turn in signatures for the 2014 ballot was the following Monday, July 7. This is decades-old practice in Arkansas, but an attorney has asked the Secretary of State's office to throw out thousands of signatures for an alcohol measure because the state Constitution requires petitions to be turned in four months ahead of an election. The real deadline, according to the attorney, was July 4.

    Alcohol Expansion, Minimum Wage Step Closer to 2014 BallotJuly 2014

    Thirty part-time workers are combing through thousands of pages of signatures submitted Monday, July 7 by supporters of expanded alcohol sales and an increase in the state's minimum wage.

    Signature Deadline Looming for Ballot GroupsJune 2014

    Ballot measure groups have less than a month to collect signatures of support necessary to put their proposed laws in front of voters in November. July 7 is the deadline for groups to submit signature petitions to the Secretary of State's office. 

    Gay Marriage Petitioners Weighing Future After Court Ruling - May 2014

    Gay marriage advocates are taking a wait-and-see approach before deciding whether to continue gathering signatures to overturn a 2004 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage after a judge last week found the decade old amendment unconstitutional.

    Voters Polled on Medical Marijuana, Minimum Wage, Ethics/Term Limits - April 2014

    Arkansas voters who were polled in April reported high support for increasing the state's minimum wage, split feelings on medical marijuana and opposition to a legislative-referred issue that includes changes to the state's term limits law.

    Ballot Groups Focusing on Signatures - March 2014

    Over the next four months, Arkansas voters may notice signature collectors at festivals, on street corners or at popular local hangouts.

    Popular Name Issue Resolved - February 2014

    State officials worked past the confusion of who is responsible for writing popular names for legislative ballot issues and released titles Friday of two measures expected to appear on the November ballot.

    Attention Shifts to Proposals From Legislature - January 2014

    Three ballot issues referred from the Legislature have taken an unexpected detour - they are on hold until a popular name can be worked out for the proposed constitutional amendments.