An Arkansas law moving up the deadline for independent candidates to present their petition signatures is constitutional because the state has a compelling interest in the earlier date, a district judge ruled Tuesday.
District Judge James Moody ruled that the law is needed to give the state time to process signatures, respond to litigation, and comply with federal law. He granted a summary judgment to the defendant, Mark Martin, Arkansas’ secretary of state. The case is Mark Moore, Michael Harrod, and William Chris Johnson v. Mark Martin.
Arkansas voters next year will decide on proposals regarding the governor's power; tax breaks for corporations; and longer terms for elected county officials after the House and Senate advanced a trio of proposed state constitutional amendments.
The Senate voted 33-0 Thursday for a plan to increase the terms of most county offices to four years, relax restrictions on what crimes prevent people from holding office and remove unopposed candidates from ballots.