Arkansas Elections

Election vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas voters next year will decide on proposals regarding the governor's power; tax breaks for corporations; and longer terms for elected county officials after the House and Senate advanced a trio of proposed state constitutional amendments.

The Senate voted 33-0 Thursday for a plan to increase the terms of most county offices to four years, relax restrictions on what crimes prevent people from holding office and remove unopposed candidates from ballots.

Unofficial results from the Arkansas Secretary of State show a runoff will be needed to choose the lawmaker who will replace former Senate President Michael Lamoureux.

Greg Standridge and Stan Berry were the two highest vote-getters in Tuesday's primary. The Russellville Courier reports they will compete Feb. 10 for the District 16 seat because no candidate received a majority.

According to the state agency's website, Standridge received about 47.8 percent of the total 4,438 votes. Berry received about 41 percent of the vote, and Thomas Akin received about 11 percent.

The authors of two, identical rejected petitions over a water project have filed a Garland County lawsuit to force the initiative onto the November ballot.

The Sentinel-Record reports Greg Pritchett and Bob Driggers filed the suit against Hot Springs' city clerk and the Garland County Election Commission on Monday.

The identical petitions sought to have an ordinance placed on the ballot to direct Hot Springs officials to stop taking water from DeGray Lake and build a new water treatment plant.

Voters in a western Arkansas city have decided to renew a 1 percent sales tax for capital improvements expected to cost more than $12 million.

The Southwest Times Record reports Alma voters on Tuesday approved seven separate projects paid for by the tax. Those projects include fire and police department upgrades and improvements to streets and parks.

The renewal will keep the city's sales tax rate at 9.5 percent and is estimated to sunset in 2024. About 450 of Alma's nearly 2,200 registered voters cast ballots. Each of the projects passed with more than 250 votes.

An Arkansas city's failure to advertise an ordinance twice in a newspaper has given another opportunity for residents to run for office as independent candidates.

The Daily Citizen reports Bald Knob had an early filing ordinance for residents who want to run as independents. They could only sign up from April 30 to May 19.

Mayor Doyle Wallace says the ordinance was voided after the city advertised it once, not twice as required.

Barth Grayson says he's pleased about the voided ordinance. He says he plans to file as a candidate for Bald Knob mayor.

Steve Copley Minimum Wage Give Arkansas A Raise Now
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Arkansas election officials say a proposal to raise the state's minimum wage needs at least 15,107 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the November ballot.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Wednesday released the number of signatures the petitions needed for Give Arkansas a Raise Now to win a spot on the ballot.

Martin's office on Friday told the group it needed more signatures, but did not yet have an exact figure.

The group has been given until Aug. 18 to submit additional petitions.

Arkansas election officials say the state has delayed the deadline for submitting the petitions to the following workday for nearly 90 years, as they review a group claiming the state used the wrong deadline for an expanded alcohol sales measure.

A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Mark Martin's office on Tuesday said officials were still researching the complaint from the group challenging the petitions that were submitted in favor of legalizing alcohol sales in all 75 counties.

A group opposed to a proposal expanding alcohol sales in Arkansas is asking the secretary of state to not certify the measure for the November ballot, claiming it missed a deadline to submit petitions.

An attorney for a group called Let Local Communities Decide For Themselves asked Secretary of State Mark Martin's office to not accept any more petitions for the proposal, which would legalize alcohol sales in all 75 Arkansas counties. Thirty-seven counties currently prohibit alcohol sales.

Supporters of a proposal to expand alcohol sales in Arkansas are being given 30 more days to gather signatures after falling short in their effort to win a spot on the November ballot.

Secretary of State Mark Martin's office said Friday that the group behind the proposed constitutional amendment needs an additional 17,133 signatures from registered voters to be approved for the ballot.

Proposed constitutional amendments need at least 78,133 signatures to go before voters.

A proposal to gradually raise Arkansas' minimum wage is one step closer to appearing on the November ballot after petitions for the measure passed an initial signature count.

Secretary of State Mark Martin said Wednesday an initial count found that 64,000 signatures were submitted for the proposed initiated act backed by Give Arkansas a Raise Now. The group needs 62,507 signatures from registered voters to qualify for the ballot.

Too few voting machines and untimely breakdowns led to long lines at two Garland County polling locations, and some voters walked away without casting ballots.

Garland County Election Commission chairwoman Ginna Watson says one Hot Springs polling site on Central Avenue had a printer problem Tuesday that slowed the pace of voting.

Watson told The Sentinel-Record there were machine issues at most precincts. One polling site on Malvern Avenue had only one voting machine all day.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

An Arkansas judge has again found the state's new voter ID law to be unconstitutional, but a photo identification will still be needed for this month's primary election.

Judge Tim Fox held a hearing Friday in Pulaski County Circuit Court concerning a second challenge to law, this one from the American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Law Center. 

election voter ID vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' highest court has temporarily stayed a judge's ruling striking down the state's voter ID law and given both sides until Friday to make their case about whether the restriction should remain in place.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday granted the state's request to stay Pulaski County Judge Tim Fox's decision voiding the new law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. Fox ruled the restriction violated Arkansas' constitution. Fox issued the ruling in a case that had focused on absentee ballot rules.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Pulaski County Election Commission and a group of four voters are asking Arkansas' highest court to prevent the state from enforcing a voter ID law in an upcoming election after it was struck down by a judge.

The commission on Tuesday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to deny the state's request to stay Judge Tim Fox's ruling, which voided the new law requiring voters to show photo identification before casting a ballot.

election voter ID vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' attorney general has filed a notice to challenge a state judge's ruling that found Arkansas' new voter ID law unconstitutional.

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel filed notice Friday that his office would appeal Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox's ruling to the Arkansas Supreme Court. A day earlier, Fox ruled the state's voter ID law was "void and unenforceable."

A spokesman for the attorney general says the state will ask the Arkansas Supreme Court to stay Fox's ruling.

A Pulaski County judge says a court rule that suspends Arkansas lawyers who don't pay their annual dues on time is unconstitutional.

Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled Wednesday in a case involving Angela Byrd, who is seeking a judgeship in the 20th Judicial District.

A resident challenged Byrd's eligibility for the ballot, citing a state law that requires judges to be licensed attorneys for six years before taking office. Byrd's license was suspended for a day after she paid her dues 36 hours late.

election voter ID vote
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas's Board of Election Commissioners are set to consider whether they will permanently adopt the emergency rules for absentee ballots that they approved last month.

Board Director Justin Clay says the seven-member body will vote on approving the rules as permanent provisions in their scheduled Wednesday meeting.

The rules passed by the board in late February allow a brief grace period for absentee voters to submit proof of identification if they didn't attach them their ballot when voting.

Two potential issues that may be on the November ballot offer contrasting attitudes from Arkansas voters.

The latest Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll of more than 1,000 likely voters shows that an overwhelming majority of Arkansans are in favor of raising the state’s minimum wage to $8.50 per hour, while voters are evenly split on a possible medical marijuana proposal. Both citizen-led initiatives are collecting signatures before a July deadline to qualify for the November ballot.

Voter ID Vote photo ID
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

The Pulaski County Election Commission is asking a judge to deny the Arkansas Republican Party's request to intervene in a lawsuit over the way absentee ballots are handled under the state's new voter ID law.

The commission on Monday asked a Pulaski County judge to reject the GOP's effort to help defend a state panel's decision to allow absentee voters who don't submit a copy of their photo identification with their ballot additional time to turn in their ID.

The commission is suing the state Board of Election Commissioners, saying the state board overstepped its bounds.

Robinson
Flickr

Voters in Little Rock are considering a proposal to pay for up to $73.5 million in renovations to the city's Robinson Center Music Hall.

Polls are open from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. The plan asks voters to dedicate a portion of the city's existing 2 percent restaurant and hotel tax to repay bonds for the project.

The tax had been used for the construction of the Statehouse Convention Center, and those bonds are about to be retired.

The music hall in downtown Little Rock was built in 1939 and hasn't had any major renovations.

AG Dustin McDaniel (D)
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has rejected the wording of a proposed ballot measure aimed at limiting corporate spending to influence elections in Arkansas.

McDaniel rejected the proposal's wording on Wednesday, citing what he said were ambiguities and deficiencies in the proposed ballot title and text. 

McDaniel has to certify the wording of a proposed measure before groups can begin gathering signatures needed to qualify for a spot on the ballot.

The proposal that McDaniel rejected on Wednesday comes from the Regnat Populus Ballot Question Committee.

Arkansas Lawmakers To Review Voter ID Rules

Oct 9, 2013
voting
Stock Photo

Arkansas lawmakers are reviewing the rules for enforcing a new state law that will require voters to show photo identification when they cast a ballot.

A subcommittee of the Legislative Council was scheduled Wednesday to discuss the rules that the state Board of Election Commissioner approved for enforcing the voter ID law.

The Republican-controlled Legislature enacted the law earlier this year when it overrode a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe.

The rules approved in August closely mirror those outlined in the law, which takes effect in January. 

The Arkansas Board of Election Commissioners Wednesday approved rules for enforcing a new law requiring voters to show a photo identification at the polls. It takes effect in January.

Meanwhile Alex Reed, spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, says they’re making arrangements to provide free ID cards for those who, for one reason or another, don’t have one.

A contract with a company to provide machines to make the cards was signed Tuesday.  It’s hoped they’ll be in use by the beginning of Decmeber.

Arkansas Panel To Take Up Rules For Voter ID Law

Aug 21, 2013

A state board is taking up the rules for enforcing a new Arkansas law that will require voters to show photo identification before they can cast a ballot.

The state Board of Election Commissioners on Wednesday is scheduled to consider the rules for the voter ID law that legislators approved earlier this year.

The law requires voters to show a photo ID at the polls. The rules closely mirror the law the Republican-controlled Legislature approved in April when it overrode Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe's veto of the voter ID legislation.

The state's move toward implementing a new voter ID law and Thursday's sentencing of former Arkansas lawmaker Hudson Hallum for election fraud have raised some questions about upholding the integrity of the election process in our state.

Hallum was sentenced in federal court in Little Rock to one year of home detention and three years probation. He was also fined $20,000 and must serve 100 hours of community service.

Hudson Hallum
Danny Johnston / AP Photo

A former east Arkansas legislator convicted of conspiracy to commit election fraud is appearing in court to be sentenced. 

Former Democratic Rep. Hudson Hallum on Thursday is scheduled to appear before a federal judge for sentencing. His father, Kent Hallum, is also set to appear before the judge in a separate sentencing hearing. 

Hallum pleaded guilty in September, along with his father and two campaign workers.

Prosecutors said Hallum bribed voters and used absentee ballots to commit fraud in the 2011 election for his seat.

Arkansas Panel Reviewing Rules On Voter ID Law

Jun 19, 2013

An Arkansas panel is reviewing the rules for enforcing a new state law that will require voters to show photo identification at the polls before they can cast a ballot.

The state Board of Election Commissioners on Wednesday was scheduled to review the rules for enforcing the state's voter ID law, which takes effect next year.

Poll workers are currently required to ask for identification, but voters can still cast a ballot if they don't show ID.

Former Democratic U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas is now a lobbyist working on issues that impact small businesses and independent contractors. Lincoln lost her Senate seat to Republican John Boozman in the 2010 election. 

In an interview with Talk Business Arkansas, Lincoln says Senator Mark Pryor will face many challenges for reelection, especially when it comes to getting his message out to voters.

2 Men Sentenced In Arkansas Election Fraud Case

May 23, 2013

Two men who pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in an election fraud case involving a former east Arkansas lawmaker have been sentenced to home confinement and probation.

Federal court records show that Phillip Wayne Carter was sentenced Wednesday to five months of home confinement. Sam Malone was sentenced Tuesday to 7.2 months of home confinement. Both men were also sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

Arkansas Governor Vetoes 3 Election Reform Bills

Apr 23, 2013
Nathan Vandiver / KUAR

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has vetoed three bills aimed at overhauling the state's election commission, including one that would create a "voter integrity unit" to investigate fraud complaints.

Beebe on Tuesday vetoed the three bills by Republican Sen. Bryan King of Green Forest. He rejected the measures after lawmakers recessed this year's legislative session.

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