Arkansas Elections

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Not only has the 2016 presidential election cycle deviated from the typical – or expected – script, but detailed analysis by using Little Rock-based Acxiom consumer data shows unusual demographic trends for first time voters, Talk Business & Politics reports.

Opponents have asked Arkansas' highest court to block votes for an initiative to limit damages awarded in medical lawsuits, the second challenge filed against the proposed ballot measure.

The Committee to Protect Arkansas Families on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to bar election officials from counting any votes cast for the proposed constitutional amendment. The proposal would allow the Legislature to cap non-economic damages awarded for medical injury against health care providers, with a minimum cap of $250,000.

The Victory Building across from the state Capitol hosts the state Board of Election Commissioners.

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge's office is asking a federal appeals court to allow the state to enforce its restrictions on the abortion pill, saying the law protects the integrity of the medical profession.

State Rep. candidate Jim Hall (R-Monticello).

Republican Party of Arkansas Chair Doyle Webb is calling on state House candidate Jim Hall "to resign his candidacy" following an appeals court ruling affirming harassment charges. Hall, a Republican from Monticello, maintains his innocence and says he won't step out of the race even though he faces jail time.

"I am not guilty and if I have to vote absentee from the jail I will do it. But I refuse to withdraw from this race," Hall told KUAR News.

In a statement, Chair Webb said Hall should get his personal life in order.

Candidate Jim Hall filing paperwork to run for an open state House seat covering parts of Ashley and Drew counties in south Arkansas.

Republicans hoping to further erode Democratic seats in the Arkansas Legislature may have hit a stumbling block in candidate Jim Hall. The House candidate from Drew County is facing jail time for harassment after losing an appeal on Wednesday.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine standing with presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine is making a fundraising stop in Little Rock as part of swing through traditionally red states. The U.S. Senator from Virginia will be at the west Little Rock home of Deborah and Mike Roberts on Tuesday.

The minimum contribution for the private event is $2,700 per-person. The maximum donation, for a chair-level contributor, tops out at $50,000.

Early voters
Sarah-Koditschek / KUAR

The Democratic Party of Arkansas says the Secretary of State’s office has promised to turn over documents related to 7,730 voters it recommended county clerks remove from voting rolls.

Party legal counsel Chris Burks says Mark Martin’s office did not respond within the required three days to a Freedom of Information Act Request for information.

He says the documents could show why Martin's office requested outdated voter rolls from the state's Crime Information center and distributed them to county clerks.  


The Arkansas Farm Bureau Federation is joining with the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce in opposing two medical marijuana initiatives that are likely to be on the ballot this November.

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) speaking to the Political Animals Club at the Pleasant Valley Country Club in Little Rock (file photo 2016).
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton says his party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump should apologize for disparaging exchanges with the family of a Muslim American killed in combat. The Republican senator, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, commented on his affinities and disagreements with Trump’s “underdog” campaign at Tuesday’s meeting of the Political Animals Club in Little Rock.

Prompted by a reporter, Cotton defended Gold Star families. He didn’t initially ask Trump to express remorse.


A proposed constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for medical use fell short of the number of valid signatures required but will have 30 days to make up the difference.

To qualify for the ballot, proposed amendments this year must collect 84,859 signatures. According to a letter sent by the secretary of state’s office to David Couch of the Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment, 72,309 of the 99,629 signatures the group submitted were valid.

arkansas gaming casino
Talk Business & Politics

Supporters of a plan to legalize casinos in three Arkansas counties have won additional time to gather signatures to put the proposal on the November ballot.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Wednesday said Arkansas Wins in 2016 had fallen short of the 84,859 signatures from registered voters needed to put its proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot. But at least 75 percent of the group's signatures are valid, qualifying it for another 30 days to circulate petitions.


An effort is forming to oppose ballot initiatives that would legalize medical marijuana, saying it would lead to increased use of the drug and, eventually, full legalization.

The Coalition for Safer Arkansas Communities held an informational meeting Friday that included a message from Terry Benham of Impact Management, who is managing the group’s campaign, Keep Arkansas Safe. The main speaker was Little Rock native and Colorado resident Henny Laster of Smart Colorado, a group that opposes marijuana legalization in that state.

State Rep. Sheilla Lampkin, a Democrat from Monticello, died of ovarian cancer on Saturday.

State Representative Sheilla Lampkin of Monticello died of ovarian cancer on Saturday at the age of 70. Earlier in the week, Lampkin announced she was withdrawing her re-election effort due to the malady.

Asa Hutchinson Republican National Convetion
Republican National Convention

Arkansas's governor and attorney general went to bat for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump by smacking  Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton back-to-back Tuesday night in prime-time speaking slots at the Republican National Convention.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson told delegates Tuesday night that electing Clinton after President Barack Obama's eight years in office would "double your trouble."

U.S. Senator Tom Cotton (R-Yellville) at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas's Tom Cotton spoke during prime time at the Republican National Convention on Monday night. The state's junior U.S. Senator echoed military themes familiar to those following his career. Cotton was in the infantry in Iraq and Afghanistan prior to his legal and electoral careers.

Sen. Cotton only mentioned Trump's name once and never said his full name. Cotton said, "In a Trump-Pence administration and with a Republican Congress, help is on the way.” 

Watch Cotton's speech here:

U.S. Representative Steve Womack (R-Third Distirct)

Arkansas Congressman Steve Womack was at the center of holding back the last gasp of the Never Trump movement at the Republican National Convention.

The U.S. Representative for the third district in northwest Arkansas served as chair on Monday afternoon, when rules for the convention were adopted. On a voice vote, Womack determined delegates approved the normal set of rules binding delegates to vote according to primary and caucus results and consequently paving the way to Donald Trump’s nomination.

Possible Libertarian State House candidate Rick Bernard wearing a t-shirt depicting a turban as a bomb. The image was drawn by Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard.

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is hoping to take advantage of a special election for a north Arkansas state House race. The party announced plans on Monday to hold a special nominating convention in Yellville at the end of this month.

Republican Kelly Linck vacated the legislative seat earlier this year to take a position at the Department of Human Services, leaving just two months left in the term after the special election.

Libertarian Party Vice Chair Christopher Olson expects open-carry activist Rick Bernard to throw his hat in.

Donald Trump speaking at Barton Coliseum in Little Rock, Arkansas.
Brian Chilson / Arkansas Times

Three Arkansas Republicans will garner much of the limelight for the state at the Republican National Convention with speaking slots, but 40 delegates are also in tow. We’ll be checking in with a handful of Arkansas delegates on the ground in Cleveland throughout this week. 

KUAR will air live coverage of the convention this Monday through Thursday from 7-10 p.m. Tune in to Morning Edition from 6-9 a.m. for recaps and analysis of the night before and previews of the day to come.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee at the state Capitol in November 2015.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee was to speak at the Republican National Convention this week, but no more.

Huckabee has sought the Republican presidential nomination twice, most recently placing 9th in Iowa before dropping out . He was to speak in Cleveland along with fellow Arkansans Tom Cotton, Asa Hutchinson, and Leslie Rutledge.

Arkansans Answer: What Would A Better Life Look Like In Your Community?

Jul 15, 2016
Adam Simon (on the left)
Anna Conard / KUAR

This election season, NPR and KUAR are asking: What would a better life look like in your community, and what do you hope politicians can do to help? KUAR's Adam Simon and Anna Conard set out to see what some Arkansans had to say about it. They then sat down with KUAR's Karen Tricot Steward for a debrief.

Interview transcription and photos:

Karen: Adam and Anna, welcome.

Adam & Anna: Thank You. Great to Be Here.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansans may have the chance to vote on two medical marijuana initiatives in November. What happens if both pass? The one with the most votes wins, probably. Talk Business and Politics reports.

File photo. Tom Cotton campaigning in 2014.
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas Republicans will have a voice, at least two of them, at next week’s Republican National Convention. U.S. Senator Tom Cotton and Governor Asa Hutchinson revealed Wednesday they have been invited to speak in Cleveland, Ohio. The speakers list has not yet been released by convention staff or the campaign of the presumptive nominee Donald Trump.

Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas voters will again consider a medical marijuana proposal in November. After dropping off box loads of petition signatures at the Secretary of State's office a couple of weeks ago, members of the group Arkansans for Compassionate Care say they got word Thursday that enough were valid.

"We did get official news that we are certified for the ballot with 77,516 valid signatures which is nearly 10,000 over the required number. It's absolutely fabulous," said Campaign Director Melissa Fults.

U.S. Representative French Hill (R-2nd District). File photo.

Central Arkansas’s Congressman French Hill talks with KUAR’s Jacob Kauffman about Brexit and Trump, a Benghazi report years in the making, yet another pass at gun control, and the Pentagon lifting a ban on transgender troops.

KAUFFMAN: The United Kingdom is preparing to chart a new course, leaving the European Union, and conventional wisdom from many economists is this could lead to some trouble – certainly a disruption of a sort. What’s your take?

Medical Marijuana
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The final results from the latest Talk Business & Politics-Hendrix College Poll indicate strong support among Arkansas voters for medical marijuana.

A group hoping to put a casino legalization measure on the Arkansas ballot this fall says it has signed an agreement with Cherokee Nation Entertainment to operate one of the casinos.

Arkansas Wins in 2016 announced Thursday the agreement with the Cherokee Nation group to operate a casino proposed in Washington County in northwest Arkansas. The tribe's gaming and hospitality company owns and operates nine casino properties in Oklahoma.

Democratic U.S. Senate hopeful Conner Eldridge is criticizing Republican Sen. John Boozman for opposing an effort to prevent terrorists from buying guns, saying an alternative measure backed by the Arkansas lawmaker doesn't go far enough.

Eldridge told the Political Animals Club on Wednesday that he supports a proposal by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein that would have let the federal government block many gun sales to known or suspected terrorists.

Libertarian Party of Arkansas Chair Michael Pakko with over 15,000 signatures to be submitted to the Secretary of State's office for ballot access. May 2016.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR News

The Libertarian Party of Arkansas is hoping to ride high hopes for its presidential ticket to automatic placement on the state’s ballot in future elections. On Sunday Libertarians nominated two former Republican governors, Gary Johnson of New Mexico and Bill Weld of Massachusetts, as presidential and vice presidential candidates.

Arkansas party chair Michael Pakko attended the national convention in Orlando and says the volatility of this election cycle gave those there a sense of an opening for the party.

Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives Dianne Curry at KUAR in advance of the filing deadline for the primary election.
Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

Arkansas’s largest organized labor group, the AFL-CIO, is backing Democratic U.S. House candidate Dianne Curry. The second district candidate’s campaign made the announcement on Thursday following written confirmation of a vote by the labor group earlier this month.

Curry says she hopes to boost the voice of organized labor in the coming election, “we really have to come back around to the fight for the American family.”

new voting machine counties
Laura Dunnagan / KUAR News

Five Arkansas counties are to receive new voting equipment in time for upcoming elections in the fall. This is the first round of equipment given following a successful trial of the new voting system this spring. Secretary of State Spokesman Chris Powell says the new machines are sorely needed.

“The current equipment that most of the state uses is about 10 years old and is nearing the end of its life cycle, so we are looking to upgrade equipment across the state,” Powell says.