Public Policy Center produces neutral voting guide on statewide ballot issues
By Emily Thompson
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Oct. 23, 2018
- The U of A System Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center has produced a neutral voter guide for the statewide ballot issues
- Election Day is Nov. 6
- View or download voting guide at at http://bit.ly/2JemOsf
(Download this story in MS Word format here.)
LITTLE ROCK— Arkansas has 1.7 million voters, but there is often a low turnout on Election Day. In fact, for the vast majority of counties in the state, voter turnout tends to be less than 55 percent, according to data published Tuesday by the Washington Post.
The numbers are often even lower for state ballot issues, said Kristin Higgins, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center program associate.
“Thousands of more people vote for governor, but then don't vote at all on the statewide ballot issues, which often include policies that affect every person in the state,” Higgins said. “Voting on constitutional amendments or initiated acts are where Arkansans have a real impact on shaping the state and how we do things here.”
The Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center has produced a neutral voter guide on all the statewide ballot issues, available online at http://bit.ly/2JemOsf, or in print at your local county extension office. The center has also made short videos for each ballot issue, available on the Division of Agriculture YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/ARextension, so that all Arkansans can become informed voters.
“Voting is a right,” Higgins said. “Take the time to understand the ballot issues and then take the time to vote.”
Early voting began Oct. 22. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Voting locations will be open that day from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
On the ballot
- Issue 2: This proposed constitutional amendment would require citizens to show photo ID when
voting in person or by absentee ballot. Currently, Arkansas requires voters to be
a U.S. citizen, an Arkansas resident, be at least 18 years old and be lawfully registered
to vote. This amendment would add a photo ID in addition to the current requirements
to vote. Legislators would decide what types of identification would be accepted and
create exemptions to the requirement. Issue 2 would require the state to provide free
photo identification to those who do not have acceptable ID. Those who do not have
IDs could vote using a provisional ballot. The legislature would have the authority
to pass laws implementing Issue 2.
- Issue 4: This proposed constitutional amendment would allow casino gaming at four locations
in Arkansas: Oaklawn in Hots Springs, Southland in West Memphis, one location in Jefferson
County and one location in Pope County. Pope and Jefferson county applicants would
be required to submit a letter of support from the county judge or quorum court, and
if locating inside city limits, from the mayor. Issue 4 would allow gaming at any
time of the day and would put casinos under the oversight of the Arkansas Racing Commission.
The proposal would put a tax on casino gaming revenue that remains after the casinos
pay out the winners or set aside funds. The tax revenue would go to the state general
revenue fund, to the county and city governments and the Arkansas Gaming Commission.
- Issue 5: This is a proposed state law that would increase the current minimum wage of $8.50 per hour to $9.25 next year, then to $10 in 2020 and to $11 in 2021. This state law applies to employers with four or more employees who are not already exempt under existing state law.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has disqualified Issue 1 and Issue 3.
The Public Policy Center exists to provide Arkansans with research-based information and education about public issues that are pressing, emerging, involve multiple points of view and have widespread consequences.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service