Signature gatherers with the non-profit coalition Give Arkansas a Raise Now say they believe they have plenty of valid signatures to get their measure on the ballot this fall. The group seeks to raise the state minimum wage from $6.25 to $8.50 an hour by 2017.
Last month, the Arkansas Secretary of State’s office gave the group 30 days to collect 15,107 additional valid signatures to reach the requisite 62,507 by next Monday, August 18th. Steve Copley, chairman of the organization, says they’ve since collected nearly 60,000 additional signatures thus far.
He says they’ll now be focusing on promoting the issue and educating voters about the campaign before the upcoming November election.
“We’re already beginning to have some discussions real early in the ballgame as to how we might develop our grassroots outreach effort. So, we’ll begin in the next week or so to have those kinds of more intense discussions as we wait the secretary of state’s decision,” says Copley.
Of the possible strategies for outreach, he says there may be a large focus on “telephone calls; people going out and knocking on doors and encouraging people to vote; perhaps mailers—that type of grassroots outreach; going to visit when community groups are meeting and sharing what an increase in the minimum wage would do.”
An April poll by Talk Business/Hendrix College showed that among the 1,000 likely Arkansas voters surveyed, 79 percent were in favor of raising the minimum wage to $8.50 an hour.
Copley says Give Arkansas a Raise Now will continue to gather signatures over the weekend. Give Arkansas A Raise Now is a coalition of organizations supporting the minimum wage increase, including the Arkansas Public Policy Panel, Arkansas NAACP, Arkansas AFL-CIO, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families and the Arkansas Interfaith Alliance.