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Arkansas Senate Committee Advances Several Bills Concerning Elections

Arkansas Senate

An Arkansas Senate committee advanced a series of election-related bills Tuesday ranging from ballot eligibility to campaign finance.

The Senate State Agencies and Governmental Affairs passed House Bill 1338, which raises the signature requirement for those running for president from 1,000 to 5,000 signatures in Arkansas.

Rep. Robin Lundstrum, R-Springdale, the bill’s sponsor on the House side, presented the bill to the committee.

"Just to give you a little perspective, if you run for [the] Supreme Court in the state of Arkansas, you have to have 10,000 signatures, plus pay a filing fee. So we’ve changed, or are asking for the agreement to change this to 5,000 signatures and make the running for president just a little more important," Lundstrum said.

Andrew Waldron with the Green Party of Arkansas spoke against the bill, calling it an "unnecessary raising of the bar," and challenged the notion that having many presidential candidates on the ballot makes the voting process "confusing."

"When voters approach it, they are more likely to know about who they are going to vote for, regardless if there’s two or 30 candidates on the ballot," Waldron said.

The bill was advanced by a voice vote, with no dissenting votes heard.

The committee later passed Senate Bill 384, which closes a current loophole that allows an Arkansas candidate to earn the maximum contribution of $2,700 from a donor more than once if they change the office they are running for.  

If SB384 passes, elections beginning in the year 2023 would be impacted.

Members of the committee also voted to advance Senate Bill 383, which then raises the maximum donation allowed from $2,700 to $2,800.

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