Monday, January 28, 2019

Arkansas bill to raise bar for ballot access

Arkansas Bill to Increase Petition for New Party Ballot Access | Ballot Access News - Richard Winger:

January 24, 2019 - "Arkansas State Senator Trent Garner (R-El Dorado) has introduced SB 163. It increases the petition requirement for new or previously unqualified parties in Arkansas from 10,000 signatures, to 3% of the last gubernatorial vote, which would be 26,746 signatures for 2020.

"The Arkansas party petition was 3% of the last gubernatorial vote between 1977 and 2006, and in all those years, no group successfully completed the party petition. The Reform Party tried in 1996 and failed, but then went to court and won a lawsuit against that law, and was put on the ballot.

"The legislature ignored the 1996 court decision, as to the number of signatures, so in 2006, the Green Party sued and won the new lawsuit. The legislature then lowered the petition requirement to 10,000 signatures....

"The bill has an emergency clause, saying 'It is found by the General Assembly that the current laws concerning the signature requirement are insufficient to reflect the will of the voters of Arkansas.' This is an absurd statement, given that the only party that used the petition in 2018 was the Libertarian Party, which polled 2.90% for Governor, and for the two statewide races with no Democrat, polled 27.65% for Auditor and 29.11% for Treasurer. The Libertarian vote for Treasurer was 250,943 votes."

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