New Law Sets Dates for Special Elections
A new Arkansas law sets four dates for special elections, which means voters can better track when they may see a local ballot measure on their ballot.
Arkansas lawmakers passed Act 610 during the first general session of 2021. The new law establishes four specific dates during the year when special elections may take place.
Cities and counties wanting to hold a special election will have to choose one of these dates unless their governing body declares an emergency.
In a presidential-election year, special elections on local ballot issues must take place the second Tuesday of March, May, August or November. In non-presidential election years, special elections are set for the second Tuesday in February, May, August or November.
The law, sponsored by Sen. Jason Rapert, also established that these special elections must take place at least 70 days after the city or county passes an ordinance calling for an election. Previously, communities had to wait at least 60 days if their issue was considered at the same time as a primary or the general election.
Act 610 does provide local lawmakers with the ability to call for a special election during a different month if there's an emergency. The new law also allows a voter to challenge the declaration of emergency in court.