Lawsuit Filed Over Issue 3
The Arkansas legislature's third proposed 2020 constitutional amendment is at the center of a new lawsuit filed in the Arkansas Supreme Court seeking to strike the issue from the November ballot.
Briana Boling filed a lawsuit against the 92nd General Assembly on May 22 saying the ballot title of Issue 3 was vague and didn't tell voters what the amendment would do. Issue 3 involves the process ballot issue groups follow to refer proposed amendments and state laws to voters.
Arkansas is one of 15 states where citizens have the right to refer amendments, state laws and referendums to voters in addition to legislative proposals.
If approved, Issue 3 would make several important changes to the citizen initiative process, including:
- Increasing the number of counties where voter signatures must be collected for statewide proposals from 15 counties to 45 counties.
- End the practice of allowing ballot issue groups more time to collect voter signatures after turning in their first batch to the Secretary of State's Office for signature verification. It would also end the practice for local ballot measures submitted to city our county clerks.
- Require voter signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office on Jan. 15 instead of the current four months ahead of an election (July 3 this year).
- Establish April 15 as the deadline for when lawsuits can be filed challenging ballot measures.
- Increase the number of votes needed by the General Assembly to refer their proposals by three additional senators and nine additional representatives.
Earlier this year Boling submitted a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow voters to sign petitions electronically but had not started a campaign before COVID-19 concerns arose.
It's unclear how the lawsuit would proceed as it names the entire General Assembly rather than an individual.
The Public Policy Center will publish a voter guide on all the proposed statewide constitutional amendments in September. As of today, only three proposals from the legislature are slated to be on the ballot. A lawsuit continues about a proposed referendum. To learn more about Arkansas ballot issues, visit www.uaex.uada.edu/ballot.