Arkansas Attorney General rejects union-ballot proposal
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas: Dustin McDaniel, Arkansas Attorney General, has once again rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would require union elections to be conducted via secret ballot. McDaniels said in a prepared statement that the new proposal, brought by the group Save our Secret Ballot in Arkansas, is ambiguous and "in some respects even more confusing than the previous proposal."No petitions can be circulated before the attorney general certifies the ballot title and popular name of all measures within the proposal, which he has refused to do.
McDaniel has maintained in regards to this revision his previous criticisms of the original proposal, which he said was unclear as to what effect the measure's adoption would have on existing state law: "The fundemental right of individuals to vote by secret ballot is already enshrined in the Constitution, raising the question of how...your proposed measure would change existing law."
The group proposing the amendment is chaired by State Senator Gilbert Baker, a Republican considering a potential challenge to Democrat U.S. Senator Blanche Lincoln in 2010. Lincoln's seat has been heavily targeted in recent months, particularly for her lack of clarity regarding her support of the Employee Free Choice Act pending in Congress.
Republicans are still skeptical despite her expressed opposition to the EFCA, which would take away union employees' right to a secret ballot and force Federal arbitration on businesses. The act itself has been called by many simply "undemocratic," and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky has said, "To approve it would be to subvert the right to bargain freely over working terms and conditions. It would also strip members of a newly recognized union of their right to accept or reject a contract."