Local Arkansas Ballot Issues
The Arkansas Constitution allows for ballot issue elections at the city and county level.
Connecting with voters on local election issues can be a challenge for any community. Voters might have preconceived notions about an issue, lack trust in the election campaign or simply not know that a measure is on the ballot.
For more than a decade, the Public Policy Center has worked with extension county agents to create neutral educational materials for local ballot issue elections.
This assistance can be in the form of:
- Fact sheets
- Community forums
- Educational programs
Find examples of past fact sheets below.
Interested in our services?
Counties and cities interested in Extension's local ballot issue education program should contact their county agent, who will then work the Public Policy Center to create and distribute neutral materials about the ballot issue.
Requests for a fact sheet should be made no later than 60 days before an election.
We encourage communities to contact their county agent as soon as there is discussion
about an election so the fact sheet can be completed before early voting starts and
in time for any public meetings on the issue.
Public Policy Center staff write the fact sheets, which are then reviewed internally and externally before publication. We ask supporters, opponents and neutral parties to review the information to ensure they are accurate and unbiased.
For more information about how to request a fact sheet, contact your county agent or the Public Policy Center at firstname.lastname@example.org.
According to Act 610 of 2021:
- 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.
Starting in 2024, special elections can only take place on two dates unless it's an emergency. According to Act 300 of 2023:
- In a presidential-election year, special elections would be allowed the second Tuesday
in March or November.
- In non-presidential election years, cities and counties could hold special elections on the second Tuesday of May or November.
Contact your county clerk for more information.
More about Local Ballot Issues
There are two ways a local ballot issue makes it to your ballot.
- A city council or quorum court passes an ordinance or resolution at a public meeting calling for an election; or
- Citizens put together a petition and collect enough signatures from registered voters to qualify their issue for an election.
The number of required voter signatures varies depending on the issue.
Most county-level ballot issues require signatures equaling 15% of the number of people in their county who voted for the office of circuit clerk in the last general election.
Referendums on city or county issues require signatures from 15% of voters who voted for governor in the last election. See Arkansas Code 3-9-206 for more information about referendums.
Elections related to the wet/dry status of a township, city or county are more complex and require a higher number of voter signatures. In this instance, a group needs signatures equal to 38% of the number of registered voters in the area affected by the proposal.
Ballot titles for local elections are the responsibility of the citizen group seeking an election. Many groups seek the help of an attorney.
Local governments often have the assistance of their city or county attorney in drafting titles for the issues they vote to place on the ballot.
Contact your county clerk or city clerk about petition form requirements.
The Secretary of State's Initiatives & Referenda handbook also has helpful information about local ballot measures. Find it at https://www.sos.arkansas.gov/elections/initiatives-and-referenda/.
No. Arkansas law requires voters to sign a paper petition, and provide additional details on the petition form.
Don't see a fact sheet for your community?
If you are looking for what is on your ballot and you don't see a fact sheet listed
below, you can contact your county clerk or look up your information on the Arkansas Secretary of State VoterView website to find a sample ballot.
Local Arkansas Ballot Issue Fact Sheets Prepared by Public Policy Center
Hempstead County Economic Development Sales Tax Election (November 2022)
Lonoke County Jail and Sheriff's Department Sales Tax Election (June 2021)
Perry County Emergency Services Sales Tax Election (November 2020)
Stone County Jail Sales Tax and Bond Issue Election (March 2020)
Hempstead County Sales Tax Election (March 2020)
St. Francis County Voter Guide (December 2019)
Little River County Jail Sales Taxes and Bond Election (September 2019)
Poinsett County Jail and Sheriff's Department Sales Tax Election (August 2019)
Stone County Jail Sales Tax and Bond Election (March 2019)
Fulton County Public Safety Sales Tax Election (2018)
Sharp County Jail Sales Tax and Bond Election (2018)
Lincoln County Jail Sales Tax and Bond Election (2018)
Baxter County Jail Sales Tax (2017)
Woodruff County Voter Guide (2017)
Franklin County Jail and Law Enforcement Facilities (2017)
Marion County Jail & Law Enforcement Facility Sales Tax and Bond Issue (2016)