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Difference between revisions of "Laws governing the initiative process in Arkansas"

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(Circulator requirements)
(Circulator requirements)
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::''See also: [[Petition circulator]]''
 
::''See also: [[Petition circulator]]''
  
In Arkansas, a circulator must be at least 18 years old. Each petition contains a mandatory [[Circulator affidavit|circulator affidavit]]. A circulator is required to sign the affidavit in the presence of a notary public. Additionally, he/she must swear to and sign a statement, under the penalty of law, that he/she personally witnessed every act of signing the petition. There is no state statute that states a circulator cannot sign the petition he/she is circulating. Per the state code, when submitting signatures, "A person filing initiative or referendum petitions with the Secretary of State shall bundle the petitions by county and shall file an affidavit stating the number of petitions and the total number of signatures being filed."
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In Arkansas, a circulator must be at least 18 years old and must register with the secretary of state before circulating a petition. Each petition contains a mandatory [[Circulator affidavit|circulator affidavit]]. A circulator is required to sign the affidavit in the presence of a notary public. Additionally, he/she must swear to and sign a statement, under the penalty of law, that he/she personally witnessed every act of signing the petition. There is no state statute that states a circulator cannot sign the petition he/she is circulating. Per the state code, when submitting signatures, "A person filing initiative or referendum petitions with the Secretary of State shall bundle the petitions by county and shall file an affidavit stating the number of petitions and the total number of signatures being filed." The petition must state whether or not the circulator is being paid or is a volunteer.
  
 
[[File:DocumentIcon.jpg|link=Portal:Ballot measure law]] <span style="color:#363636">'''''See law:''' [http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iandrinstitute.org%2FNew%2520IRI%2520Website%2520Info%2FI%26R%2520Research%2520and%2520History%2FI%26R%2520at%2520the%2520Statewide%2520Level%2FConstitution%2520and%2520Statutes%2FArkansas.pdf&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNFtmL9WO038n2SzN2Hurk419xgCug Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-108]''</span> & [http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sos.arkansas.gov%2Felections%2FDocuments%2FInitiatives%2520and%2520Referenda%2FAct%25201413%2520of%25202013.pdf&ei=7XK4Us_oIKLbyQGik4GQCA&usg=AFQjCNEtCdtA0F3k-g2HHO5efo6X5msNyQ Act 1413]
 
[[File:DocumentIcon.jpg|link=Portal:Ballot measure law]] <span style="color:#363636">'''''See law:''' [http://www.google.com/url?q=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.iandrinstitute.org%2FNew%2520IRI%2520Website%2520Info%2FI%26R%2520Research%2520and%2520History%2FI%26R%2520at%2520the%2520Statewide%2520Level%2FConstitution%2520and%2520Statutes%2FArkansas.pdf&sa=D&sntz=1&usg=AFQjCNFtmL9WO038n2SzN2Hurk419xgCug Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-108]''</span> & [http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0CCkQFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sos.arkansas.gov%2Felections%2FDocuments%2FInitiatives%2520and%2520Referenda%2FAct%25201413%2520of%25202013.pdf&ei=7XK4Us_oIKLbyQGik4GQCA&usg=AFQjCNEtCdtA0F3k-g2HHO5efo6X5msNyQ Act 1413]

Revision as of 15:54, 6 January 2014

[edit]

Ballot law
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State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
1.1 Crafting an initiative
1.1.1 Single-subject rule
1.1.2 Subject restrictions
1.1.3 Competing initiatives
1.2 Starting a petition
1.2.1 Applying to petition
1.2.2 Proposal review/approval
1.2.3 Fiscal review
1.3 Collecting signatures
1.3.1 Number required
1.3.2 Distribution requirements
1.3.3 Restrictions on circulators
1.3.4 Electronic signatures
1.3.5 Deadlines for collection
1.4 Getting on the ballot
1.4.1 Signature verification
1.4.2 Ballot title and summary
1.5 The election and beyond
1.5.1 Supermajority requirements
1.5.2 Effective date
1.5.3 Litigation
1.5.4 Legislative tampering
1.5.5 Re-attempting an initiative
1.6 Funding an initiative campaign
1.7 State initiative law
2 Changes in the law

Citizens of Arkansas may initiate legislation as either a state statute or a constitutional amendment. In Arkansas, citizens also have the power to repeal legislation via veto referendum. The Arkansas State Legislature may also place measures on the ballot as legislatively-referred constitutional amendments or legislatively-referred state statutes.

Crafting an initiative

Of the 24 states that allow citizens to initiate legislation through the petition process, several states have adopted restrictions and regulations that limit the allowable scope and content of initiated proposals. These regulations may include laws that mandate that initiatives address only one topic, restrict the range of acceptable topics for proposed laws, prohibit unfunded mandates, and establish guidelines for adjudicating contradictory measures.

Single-subject rule

See also: Single-subject rule

In Arkansas, statewide initiatives are not governed by a single-subject rule. Local measures, however, must address "only a single comprehensive topic." [1]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1 & Arkansas Code, Title 14, Subtitle 2, Ch. 14-915

Subject restrictions

See also: Subject restrictions (ballot measures)

Initiated measures and amendments are not governed by subject restrictions in Arkansas. In addition, they are not required to specify a funding source for mandated expenditures.[2][3]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1 & Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-503

Competing initiatives

See also: Superseding initiative; "Poison pills"; List of Arkansas ballot measures

The Arkansas Constitution provides that in the event that two measures conflict, the measure with most "yes" votes will become law.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Starting a petition

Each initiative and referendum state employs a different procedure for filing petition applications. Some states require preliminary signatures while others do not. In addition, several states review each proposed statute, verifying that the law conforms to the style and conventions of state law and recommending alterations to initiative proponents. Some of these of these states also review the law for more substantive considerations of content and consistency. Also, many states conduct a review of the ballot title and summary, and several states employ a fiscal review process which analyzes proposed laws to determine their impact on state finances.[4][5][6]

Applying to petition

See also: Approved for circulation

Prior to collecting signatures, initiative proponents must submit a draft of the bill, a proposed ballot title, and a proposed popular name to the Attorney General. The Attorney General then has 10 days to approve the proposal, return it to the proponents for revision, or select an alternative ballot title or name. The primary grounds for rejection or modification is inaccurate or misleading language. Proponents may challenge the decision of the Attorney General in the Arkansas Supreme Court. Once the measure's ballot title and popular name have been approved, proponents must file a copy of the petition with the Arkansas Secretary of State.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-107

Proposal review/approval

See also: Approved for circulation

Any Arkansas taxpayer may request that the Secretary of State review an initiative petition for legal sufficiency. The Secretary, in consultation with the Attorney General, has 30 days to issue an opinion. A measure may only be declared insufficient if (1) its title or name are unfair or incomplete or (2) if passed, the measure "would violate any state constitutional provision or any federal constitutional, statutory, or regulatory provision or would be invalid for any other reason." Sponsors are then permitted 30 days to correct or amend the petition. The Secretary has 15 days to review the revisions. Any taxpayer or sponsor of the measure may appeal the decision to the Arkansas Supreme Court.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-501 through 9-506

Fiscal review

See also: Fiscal impact statement

Arkansas does not require a fiscal analysis for ballot measures.[7]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-107 & Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-501 through 9-506

Collecting signatures

Each initiative and referendum state employs a unique method of calculating the state's signature requirements. Some states mandate a certain fraction of registered voters while others base their calculation on those who actually voted in a preceding election. In addition, many states employ a distribution requirement, dictating where in the state these signatures must be collected. Beyond these overarching requirements, many states regulate the manner in which signatures may be collected and the timeline for collecting them.

Number required

See also: Arkansas signature requirements

Signature requirements in Arkansas differ between statutory initiatives, constitutional amendments, and veto referendums. For an initiated constitutional amendment, signatures equal to at least 10% of the total number of votes cast for the office of governor in the last gubernatorial election are required. For an initiated state statute, signatures equal to at least 8% of this total are required. For veto referendums, signatures equal to at least 6% of this total are required.

Year Amendment Statute Veto referendum
2014 78,133 62,507 46,880
2012 78,133 62,507 46,880
2010 77,468 61,974 46,481
2008 77,468 61,974 46,481

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Distribution requirements

See also: Distribution requirement

Proponents must collect signatures equaling at least half of the designated percentage of gubernatorial votes in at least 15 of the state's counties. (1/2 of 10% = 5% for an amendment; 1/2 of 8% = 4% for a statute). For example, if 1,000 people voted for governor in a county and the petition is for a constitutional amendment, the signatures of 50 qualified electors would be required. The distribution requirement was created by Arkansas Amendment 7 in 1920.[8]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Restrictions on circulators

Circulator requirements

See also: Petition circulator

In Arkansas, a circulator must be at least 18 years old and must register with the secretary of state before circulating a petition. Each petition contains a mandatory circulator affidavit. A circulator is required to sign the affidavit in the presence of a notary public. Additionally, he/she must swear to and sign a statement, under the penalty of law, that he/she personally witnessed every act of signing the petition. There is no state statute that states a circulator cannot sign the petition he/she is circulating. Per the state code, when submitting signatures, "A person filing initiative or referendum petitions with the Secretary of State shall bundle the petitions by county and shall file an affidavit stating the number of petitions and the total number of signatures being filed." The petition must state whether or not the circulator is being paid or is a volunteer.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-108 & Act 1413

Pay-per-signature

See also: Pay-per-signature

Arkansas does not prohibit paying circulators by the signature. In addition, the Arkansas Constitution forbids any law prohibiting the payment of circulators.[8]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Out-of-state circulators

See also: Residency requirements for petition circulators

Arkansas does not require circulators to reside in the state.[8]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-108

Badge requirements

See also: Badge requirements

Arkansas does not require paid circulators to be identified by a badge or on the petition form.[9]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-108

Electronic signatures

See also: Electronic petition signatures

Since electronic signatures are an emerging technology, the constitutionality of bans on e-signatures and the legality of e-signatures in states without bans is largely untested. Arkansas law does mandate that signatures be collected in person.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-108

Deadlines for collection

See also: Petition drive deadlines; Circulation period

In Arkansas, petitioners have an unlimited window in which to collect signatures. Signatures must be filed four months before the election in which the measure is to appear on the ballot.[8]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Getting on the ballot

Once signatures have been collected, state officials must verify that requirements are met and that fraudulent signatures are excluded. States generally employ a random sample process or a full verification of signatures. After verification, the issue must be prepared for the ballot. This often involves preparing a fiscal review and ballot summary.

Signature verification

See also: Signature certification

Within 30 days of receiving petition signatures, the Arkansas Secretary of State verifies each signature up to 110% of the required number. Prior to counting, the Secretary removes any individual petitions that are formally deficient. If any individual petition appears, beyond a reasonable doubt, to contain 20% or more dubious signatures, initiative sponsors are then responsible for proving which of the signatures are valid. If the petition fails to meet the signature requirement, petitioners have 30 days to collect additional signatures or demonstrate that rejected signatures are valid.[8]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-107

Ballot title and summary

See also: Ballot title

After petition certification, the Arkansas Secretary of State drafts an abstract of each measure. These abstracts must be conspicuously posted at polling places. Only the ballot title and name, as chosen prior to circulation, appear on the ballot.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Code, Title 7, Ch. 9-114

The election and beyond

Ballot measures face additional challenges beyond qualifying for the ballot and receiving a majority of the vote. Several states require ballot measures to get more than a simple majority. While some states mandate a 3/5 supermajority, others states set the margin differently. In addition, ballot measures may face legal challenge or modification by legislators. If a ballot measure does fail, some states limit how soon that initiative can be re-attempted.

Supermajority requirements

See also: Supermajority requirements

Arkansas does not require a supermajority for passage of an initiated statute, initiated amendment, or veto referendum.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Effective date

Unless specified by the measure itself, initiatives take effect 30 days after the election in which they are approved.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Litigation

See also: Ballot measure lawsuit news

Any challenge to the determinations of the Secretary of State regarding the sufficiency of a petition, is under the "original and exclusive jurisdiction" of the Arkansas Supreme Court.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Legislative tampering

See also: Legislative tampering

The Arkansas State Legislature may not repeal or amend a successful initiative or referendum, except by a two-thirds supermajority vote.

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Re-attempting an initiative

Arkansas does not limit how soon an initiative can be re-attempted. [10]

DocumentIcon.jpg See law: Arkansas Constitution, Article 5, Section 1

Funding an initiative campaign

See also: Campaign finance requirements for Arkansas ballot measures

The Ethics Commission has primary enforcement over the state's campaign finance laws. If someone wants to file a complaint alleging a violation of Arkansas Campaign Finance Law, the complaint must be directed to the Arkansas Ethics Commission. It is up to the Commission to determine if any policies are violated and to remedy any action[11].

State initiative law

Article X of the Arkansas Constitution provides authority for the initiative and referendum process.

Title 7 of the Arkansas Code governs the initiative and referendum process.

External links

References

Ballot law
BallotLaw final.png
State laws
Initiative law
Recall law
Statutory changes
Court cases
Lawsuit news
Ballot access rulings
Recent court cases
Petitioner access
Ballot title challenges
Superseding initiatives
Signature challenges
Laws governing
local ballot measures
Contents
1 Laws and procedures
2 Changes in the law
2.1 Proposed changes by year
2.1.1 2012
2.1.2 2011
2.1.3 2010

The following laws have been proposed which modify ballot measure law in Arkansas.

Proposed changes by year

2012

See also: Changes in 2012 to laws governing ballot measures


2011

See also: Changes in 2011 to laws governing ballot measures



The following bills were introduced in the Arkansas State Legislature:

Defeatedd Arkansas House Bill 2209: HB 2209 proposes prohibiting the use of public funds to support or oppose ballot measures. The bill would exempt elected officials from this restriction.


2010

See also: Changes in 2010 to laws governing ballot measures'

No proposed changes were identified in 2010.