How Many Signatures Are Needed For Arkansas Ballot Issues?
Arkansas is one of 15 states where citizens can ask voters to consider a referendum on a new state law, propose a state law and a constitutional amendment.
But in order to get their issue on a ballot, a group must collect a certain number of voter signatures from at least 15 counties across Arkansas. This geographic distribution requirement is where many groups using unpaid volunteers seem to stall.
The Arkansas Constitution ties the number of required voter signatures to the number of people who voted for governor in the last election.
Step A: Collect Voter Signatures
Constitutional amendments require voter signatures equaling 10% of the number of people who voted in the last governor's election, or 89,151 for the 2022 ballot. State laws require 8%, or 71,321 signatures.
Step B: Collect Voter Signatures In 15 Counties
Petitions must contain voter signatures from at least 15 counties to qualify for the ballot.
Step C: Geographic Requirements
In each of the 15 counties, petitions for constitutional amendments must contain voter signatures representing 5% of the number of people in that county who voted for governor in the last election. State laws require signatures equaling 4%.
The chart above comparing the county with the lowest number of governor votes (Calhoun County) in 2018 to the county with the highest number of governor votes (Pulaski County), and shows how many voters in those counties would need to sign 2022 statewide petitions. In Calhoun County, a ballot issue group would need to collect 90 voter signatures compared to 6,734 signatures in Pulaski County.
See the list of signature thresholds by county taken from the Secretary of State's handbook. The deadline to submit petitions is July 8, 2022.
As of August 26, the Secretary of State's Office has received seven proposed amendments and state laws for the November 2022 ballot. Proposals from the legislature and those filed by citizen groups so far can be found at https://conta.cc/3mBkX6v