Issue 3 - Changing Arkansas' Citizen Initiative Process, Votes Required for Legislative Ballot Issue Proposals and Publication Requirements
Election Results: Arkansas voters rejected Issue 3. Find results on the Arkansas Secretary of State's website.
Know before you vote
On Election Day, you will see only the popular name and title of each proposal. Want to read the rest of it? Here's a link to the complete text of Issue 3.
Watch our specialists explain Issue 3 in the video below
What's being proposed?
This amendment asks voters to approve changes to three parts of the Arkansas Constitution, which would impact how proposed ballot measures make it on the ballot for voter approval as well as publication requirements for legislative proposals.
First, the amendment would change Article 5, Section 1 of the Arkansas Constitution, known as “Initiatives and Referendum.” The proposed changes would:
- Change the date when voter signatures are due for statewide ballot measures proposed by the public. Instead of four months ahead of the general election, the due date would be set as January 15 of the election year.
- Increase the number of counties where voter signatures must be collected for statewide ballot measures and referendums proposed by the public, from 15 counties to 45 counties.
- Establish April 15 of the election year as the deadline for filing lawsuits challenging statewide ballot measures proposed by the public.
- Eliminate the ability of statewide ballot issue groups to collect and submit additional signatures from voters to put a proposed constitutional amendment, state law or referendum on the ballot if the first round of signatures submitted to the Secretary of State does not meet the threshold. This is often called a “cure period.”
- Eliminate the cure period for local ballot measures on a city or county-wide ballot if the first round of signatures submitted to the city or county clerk does not meet the threshold.
- Eliminate a section requiring that a person challenging the validity of a ballot issue petition in court has the burden to prove the petition is invalid. The impact of this change is not clear.
- Add a sentence to the constitution that extends a deadline that falls on a weekend or holiday, to the next day that isn’t a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday.
Second, the amendment would make changes to Article 19, Section 22 of the Arkansas Constitution, known as “Miscellaneous Provisions.” The proposed changes would:
- Increase the number of votes needed by state legislators to refer a constitutional amendment to voters, from a simple majority of legislators in each house of the General Assembly to 3/5 of the members in each house. This is a change from 50% to 60% of legislators in each house.
- Delete a requirement that constitutional amendments proposed by the legislature be published in a newspaper in each county for six months ahead of the election. Instead, the proposed amendment would be published “in a manner provided by law.” No additional definition is provided.
Third, the amendment would make changes to Amendment 70, Section 2 of the Arkansas Constitution impacting how legislators propose a constitutional amendment changing salaries of elected state officials. This new section would:
- Delete a requirement that proposed constitutional amendments affecting the salary of statewide elected officials and legislators be published in a newspaper in each county for six months ahead of the election. Similar to proposed changes to Article 19 listed above, an amendment proposed under this section would be published “in a matter provided by law.” No additional definition is provided.
- Add a sentence to the constitution that would require constitutional amendments proposed under this section to comply with requirements in Article 19, Section 22. This would effectively increase the number of votes needed by state legislators to refer salary-based constitutional amendments to voters from a simple majority of legislators in each house to 3/5 of all members in each house. This is a change from 50% to 60% of legislators in each house.
How did Issue 3 get on the ballot?
Arkansas senators and representatives voted last year to put Issue 3 on the Nov. 3, 2020 ballot for voters to decide.
Who is supporting or opposing this measure?
Supporters and opponents that spend money to campaign are required to register with the Arkansas Ethics Commission as a ballot or legislative question committee. Visit the Commission's website to view these filings, which include names of people behind a group and how much money has been raised or spent.
Multiple groups have filed with the Arkansas Ethics Commission to financially support or oppose Issue 3. These groups include:
Committee to Protect the Arkansas Constitution
Protect AR Voices
Arkansans for Arkansans
Save Arkansas Voter's Elections
Defend Direct Democracy
Protect AR Rights
Liberty Initiative Fund
Citizens in Charge
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