UACES Facebook Arkansas State Ballot Issues | Unbiased voter education for Arkansas ballot issues

A voter provides his information to poll workers on Election Day in ArkansasState Ballot Issues in Arkansas

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.

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 

The 2020 Arkansas Ballot

Arkansas legislators voted to put three constitutional amendments on the November 2020 ballot. Our Arkansas Ballot Issue Voter Guide detailing those proposals will be posted on this web page in summer 2020. 

Meanwhile, below are links to the wording of the three legislatively-referred ballot measuresThe Arkansas Secretary of State hasn't assigned ballot numbers to the measures yet, so they are listed in order of when they passed in the legislative session.

Blue illustration of a bag of money

Continuing Sales Tax for Road Construction

HJR1018: An amendment to the 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

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

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

What is Circulating?

In Arkansas, citizens too can put issues 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.
  • Submitting signatures to the Secretary of State's Office to review.
  • The Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners certifying the ballot title.

As of Dec. 19, 2019, the names of nine ballot measures have been submitted to the Secretary of State's Office. Supporters can collect voter signatures for these measures for the November 2020 election cycle. The measures are:

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

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 - Newsletter & Fact Sheet Publication Archive

  • News & Notes - 2019 Ballot Issue Newsletters

    Signature Counting To Resume, Court Rules - December 2019
    The Secretary of State's Office will soon start counting thousands of voter signatures it originally considered invalid after an Arkansas Supreme Court ruling agreed with a referendum campaign that they should be counted.

    Proposals, Funding Added Up - November 2019
    As this month comes to a close, citizen initiative groups have filed nine proposed constitutional amendments with the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office, allowing them to collect signatures to put their proposals on the November 2020 ballot.

    Signature Gathering Underway - October 2019
    Canvassers have been spotted around the state in October at grocery stores and the State Fair collecting signatures for potential 2020 ballot issues.

    Group Seeks Voter Approval for Game Machines - September 2019
    In a span of 10 years, Arkansas voters approved legalizing the sale of lottery tickets and opening of casinos. Now a group hopes voters will support a constitutional amendment authorizing "coin operated amusement machines" in the state.

    Referendum: Off, On Again? - August 2019
    Challengers of a new state law expanding the procedures optometrists can perform in Arkansas have asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to intervene in their effort to put a referendum regarding Act 579 on the November 2020 ballot.

    Voter Signatures Filed for Referendum; Multiple Marijuana Amendments Filed - July 2019
    Safe Surgery Arkansas submitted thousands of pages of voter signatures this week to the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office in their quest to challenge a new state law expanding the scope of practice for optometrists. The wording of two ballot proposals seeking to legalize marijuana were filed in July with the Secretary of State's Office.

    Referendum Sought on New Optometry Law - June 2019
    A new state law expanding what procedures optometrists can do for patients is being challenged through Arkansas' referendum process.

    New Law Makes AG Ballot Title Request Moot - May 2019
    The Arkansas Supreme Court rejected a request to force the Attorney General to certify a ballot title for a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational use of marijuana.

    2020 Ballot: Voters to Decide Sales Tax, Citizen Initiative Process, Term Limit Amendments - April 2019
    It's official: Arkansas' 2019 legislative session is over. Legislators held their formal closing Wednesday ending the session. As part of the session, legislators referred three constitutional amendments to voters on the 2020 ballot.

    Arkansas Voters Will Decide Sales Tax - March 2019
    Arkansas legislators have settled one of the three constitutional amendments they expect to refer to voters in 2020.

    Legislators Submit Amendments for 2020 Ballot - February 2019
    Arkansas legislators submitted 44 proposed constitutional amendments for the 2020 ballot. Many of the amendments focus on the process for putting citizen-initiated amendments and state laws on the ballot, term limits, highway funding, and laws related to lawsuit damages.

    92nd General Assembly Underway - January 2019
    The Arkansas legislative session is in its second week and state senators and representatives so far have filed five proposed ballot measures.

  • News & Notes - 2017 Ballot Issue Newsletters

    What Does 2018 Have in Store for Arkansas Voters? - December 2017
    As 2017 winds down, we offer a recap of where Arkansas' 2018 ballot stands as far as potential constitutional amendments.

    More than $1.3 Million Raised in Court-Related Ballot Issue Campaigns
    - November 2017
    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.

    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.