Oct 3, 2022 - Politics

Arkansas' proposed constitutional vote change

A poll worker holds a sheet of stickers during Arkansas' primary in May. Photo: Worth Sparkman/Axios

Arkansas voters will decide in November if a simple majority of ballots cast continues to have the power to make amendments to the state's constitution.

State of play: There are four issues on the state ballot, including No. 2, known as the "Constitutional Amendment and Ballot Initiative Reform Amendment."

  • Sponsored by Rep. David Ray (R-Maumelle) and Sen. Bart Hester (R-Cave Springs), it would increase the percentage of votes required to pass most future ballot issues.
  • As it stands, a simple majority of 50% plus one is required. Issue 2 raises the bar to 60%.

The intrigue: Issue 2 would only require a simple majority to pass in November.

Reality check: Though voter turnout in Arkansas' general elections is higher than in its primaries, usually less than one-third of the state's total population turns out to vote.

What they're saying: "Issue 2 was introduced by legislators as a clear attempt to make it nearly impossible for Arkansans to exercise their constitutional right to petition our government," Gennie Diaz of nonpartisan group Protect AR Rights said in a news release. "The current initiative process ensures that all Arkansans, not just politicians and the lobbyists who back them, have a say over the policies put before voters."

The other side: "We value the [state's] constitution and want to make sure that it's protected," Hester told Axios.

  • The intent of the measure is to safeguard Arkansas against special interest groups with deep pockets that could influence votes.

Be smart: A for vote is in favor of changing the Arkansas Constitution to increase the percentage of votes required to pass constitutional amendments to 60% of the votes cast.

  • An against vote opposes the change to the Arkansas Constitution.

Of note: The last day to register to vote is Oct. 11.

  • Early voting begins Oct. 24.
  • Mail-in and absentee ballots are due on Nov. 4, and Election Day is Nov. 8
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