Apr 15, 2024 - News

Tampons to autos: Four proposed ballot measures in Arkansas

Illustration of a dollar bill inside a sanitary napkin wrapper.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

Many of the issues Arkansas residents are working to get on the November ballot fall in similar categories — education, abortion, Freedom of Information or medical marijuana.

The big picture: Four proposals are outside those categories and are covered here.

Sales tax on feminine hygiene products

State of play: If approved, this amendment would eliminate sales tax on feminine hygiene products like tampons and menstrual cups and on children and adult diapers.

  • Arkansas taxes these products the regular sales tax of 6.5%.

Zoom out: Arkansas is one of 20 states that has a sales tax on period products, according to the Alliance for Period Supplies. States have been moving to end sales tax on period products, which cost an average of $18,000 over a lifetime.

Absentee ballot voting

The constitutional amendment is focused on procedures for absentee voting. It would:

  • Allow absentee ballots to be distributed only 30 days before an election;
  • Limit the possession of ballots to the voter, the postal service, an election official or a person assisting a disabled voter;
  • Allow only the voter to track their ballot and protect information about who requested an absentee ballot; and
  • Prohibit use of the Internet, Bluetooth or wireless connections in Arkansas elections, meaning absentee ballots would have to be hardcopies.

State of play: Currently, absentee ballots can be cast electronically only by uniformed service members, merchant marines or overseas citizens.

  • Voters must apply for absentee ballots.
  • There is no limit to how early an absentee voter can pick up their ballot, but a voter's designee has 15 days before a preferential primary election or general election to obtain a ballot.

Pope County casino

This constitutional amendment would revoke any casino license issued in Pope County by the Arkansas Racing Commission and require any future license to be approved by the residents of the county where it would be located.

The latest: No casino license is approved in Pope County where Russellville is the county seat. The state Racing Commission approved rules to govern the 30-day application process in March.

  • On April 11, the Joint Budget Committee approved those rules, which have been submitted to the secretary of state's office and will soon become effective, allowing casinos to apply.

Historic or special interest vehicle

This initiated act would lower the minimum age of a vehicle eligible to be registered as an historic or special interest vehicle from 45 years-old to 25 years-old.

Go deeper: How citizens change Arkansas' laws


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