Review Of Arkansas Ballot Proposals Finds Signature Issues

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas court officials appointed to review legal challenges to ballot proposals found that a proposed constitutional amendment on term limits lacks the required signatures, but a minimum wage measure should remain on the ballot.

Special Master Mark Hewett on Monday determined that a proposed amendment to shorten legislative term limits didn’t have enough valid signatures to make the Nov. 6 general election ballot, the AP reported. Hewett said the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office erroneously included more than 14,000 signatures in its final count.

The error puts the collected signatures below the 84,859 needed to qualify for the ballot, Hewett said.

The amendment proposed by the Arkansas Term Limits committee would limit state representatives to three two-year terms, senators to two four-year terms and a combined maximum of 10 years in both chambers.

Special Master Sam Bird found that the Secretary of State’s Office had also mistakenly discarded some signatures when it certified the ballot initiative to increase the state’s minimum wage. The issue sponsored by the Arkansans for a Fair Wage committee would raise the minimum wage to $11 per hour by 2021.

Bird added back the previously culled signatures, which put sponsor’s collected signatures at 71,459 in total, well above the 67,887 needed.

“It is clear (and I find) that sponsor’s petition exceeded the minimum number of signatures … required to qualify it for placement on the November 6, 2018 ballot,” Bird wrote in his finding.

Hewett and Bird were appointed this month to review each proposal’s legal challenges. The Arkansas Supreme Court will consider the findings.