Arkansas Elections

petition signatures signature gathering
WESA

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.

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

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.

Unofficial results from the Arkansas Secretary of State show a runoff will be needed to choose the lawmaker who will replace former Senate President Michael Lamoureux.

Greg Standridge and Stan Berry were the two highest vote-getters in Tuesday's primary. The Russellville Courier reports they will compete Feb. 10 for the District 16 seat because no candidate received a majority.

According to the state agency's website, Standridge received about 47.8 percent of the total 4,438 votes. Berry received about 41 percent of the vote, and Thomas Akin received about 11 percent.

The Arkansas Educational Television Network

The three candidates for Arkansas's next lieutenant Governor debated the role's influence on state economic policies Thursday, while also asserting views on how the office should be managed.

The authors of two, identical rejected petitions over a water project have filed a Garland County lawsuit to force the initiative onto the November ballot.

The Sentinel-Record reports Greg Pritchett and Bob Driggers filed the suit against Hot Springs' city clerk and the Garland County Election Commission on Monday.

The identical petitions sought to have an ordinance placed on the ballot to direct Hot Springs officials to stop taking water from DeGray Lake and build a new water treatment plant.

Voters in a western Arkansas city have decided to renew a 1 percent sales tax for capital improvements expected to cost more than $12 million.

The Southwest Times Record reports Alma voters on Tuesday approved seven separate projects paid for by the tax. Those projects include fire and police department upgrades and improvements to streets and parks.

The renewal will keep the city's sales tax rate at 9.5 percent and is estimated to sunset in 2024. About 450 of Alma's nearly 2,200 registered voters cast ballots. Each of the projects passed with more than 250 votes.

An Arkansas city's failure to advertise an ordinance twice in a newspaper has given another opportunity for residents to run for office as independent candidates.

The Daily Citizen reports Bald Knob had an early filing ordinance for residents who want to run as independents. They could only sign up from April 30 to May 19.

Mayor Doyle Wallace says the ordinance was voided after the city advertised it once, not twice as required.

Barth Grayson says he's pleased about the voided ordinance. He says he plans to file as a candidate for Bald Knob mayor.

Steve Copley Minimum Wage Give Arkansas A Raise Now
AETN

Arkansas election officials say a proposal to raise the state's minimum wage needs at least 15,107 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the November ballot.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Wednesday released the number of signatures the petitions needed for Give Arkansas a Raise Now to win a spot on the ballot.

Martin's office on Friday told the group it needed more signatures, but did not yet have an exact figure.

The group has been given until Aug. 18 to submit additional petitions.

Arkansas election officials say the state has delayed the deadline for submitting the petitions to the following workday for nearly 90 years, as they review a group claiming the state used the wrong deadline for an expanded alcohol sales measure.

A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Tuesday said officials were still researching the complaint from the group challenging the petitions that were submitted in favor of legalizing alcohol sales in all 75 counties.

A group opposed to a proposal expanding alcohol sales in Arkansas is asking the secretary of state to not certify the measure for the November ballot, claiming it missed a deadline to submit petitions.

An attorney for a group called Let Local Communities Decide For Themselves asked Secretary of State Mark Martin's office to not accept any more petitions for the proposal, which would legalize alcohol sales in all 75 Arkansas counties. Thirty-seven counties currently prohibit alcohol sales.

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