State Ballot Issues in Arkansas
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
2018 Arkansas Ballot Issues - Educate Yourself
Arkansas voters will see two proposed consitutional amendments on their November 2018 ballot. These two issues were referred to voters by the legislature.
The proposed amendments are:
- Issue 1 - An Amendment Concerning Civil Lawsuits and the Powers of the General Assembly and Supreme Court to Adopt Court Rules. Read the full proposal.
- 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. Read the full proposal.
Voters might also see proposals from the public. On July 6, 2018, campaigns turned in voter signatures for three potential ballot issues. Those proposals include:
- An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage
- 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
- The Arkansas Term Limits Amendment
The Secretary of State's Office is currently reviewing the signatures and will finalize the ballot in late August. Keep up to date on the ballot issues 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 issues are here or contact your local County Clerk for more information about what's on your ballot.
- News & Notes - 2018 Ballot Issue Newsletters
Three Ballot Issue Groups Turn In Petitions - July 2018
Temporary workers will spend the next month reviewing petitions, looking at the signatures and comparing them to their lists of registered voters. The Secretary of State's Office has until Aug. 23 to tell counties which issues will be on the ballot.It's been a whirlwind of a month. The Arkansas Attorney General certified four potential ballot measures for the November ballot in response to a lawsuit. Three of the sponsors then published their ballot titles in a newspaper by June 6 as required.
A second group wanting access to the November ballot has filed a lawsuit against Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge after she rejected the title and wording of their proposed constitutional amendment.
Casino Backers Sue Over AG Rejections - April 2018
Backers of a proposed constitutional amendment to allow casino gaming in Arkansas have sued the state's Attorney General after she again rejected their proposed ballot title and amendment.
AG Office Rejects Multiple Ballot Proposals - March 2018
The Arkansas Attorney General's Office rejected four proposed ballot measures this month submitted by the public.
Proposal Stumbles over Legal Jargon - February 2018
At just under 20 words long, a proposed ballot title meant to provide a path to suing the state of Arkansas was rejected because of the undefined legal jargon included in the proposal.
AG Says No to Casino Proposal - January 2018
A recent court decision and a long-held desire to open casinos in Arkansas pushed two groups into taking the first step in a bid for the November ballot.
- News & Notes - 2017 Ballot Issue Newsletters
What Does 2018 Have in Store for Arkansas Voters? - December 2017As 2017 winds down, we offer a recap of where Arkansas' 2018 ballot stands as far as potential constitutional amendments.
More than $1.39 million has been raised by ballot issue campaigns on opposing sides of SJR8 on next year's ballot.
More Groups Forming Around Court-Related Ballot Issue - October 2017
The Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce announced this week the formation of a group advocating the passage of a constitutional amendment on the 2018 ballot.
Will We See Fewer Ballot Issues? - September 2017
Ballot issues may seem like they pop up out of no where, but they're usually years in the making especially if they're coming from the public. So it's interesting to note that fewer proposals from the public have been certified for signature gathering for the 2018 ballot than in recent years.
2018 Ballot Issue Spending Underway - August 2017
Arkansas doesn't have any ballot measures this year, but Legislative Question Committees are starting to form and raise money on 2018 ballot measures in the Natural State.
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.
Arkansas Highway Commissioners are pinning their hopes for additional highway funding on voters.
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.
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 2016The 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 2015For 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 Session - January 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.
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.
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 Groups - June 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 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.
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.
- Archive of Arkansas Ballot Issue Fact Sheets (2005-2016)
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
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
• 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 - FSPPC309SP]
• 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]
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1 - FSPPC301 (PDF) - An amendment concerning voting, qualifications of voters and election officers, and the time of holding general elections.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Referred Question No. 1 - FSPPC 303 (PDF) - Arkansas Water, Waste Disposal, and Pollution Abatement Facilities Financing Act of 2007
• 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.
• 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
• 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