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As the voting deadline approaches, canvassing activities in Arkansas pick up steam



Little Rock, Arkansas – A few weeks remain until the deadline for submitting petitions that might force an election on Arkansas’s laws, so the organizations supporting those ballot measures are stepping up their efforts to get enough signatures in time.

A petition requiring the signatures of over 90,000 people from at least 50 counties must be submitted before state legislation that the public wants modified can be put to a vote.

There are a record number of petitions this year, and as the signing deadline approaches, the arguments in favor of and against these concerns are becoming more forceful.

One thing to anticipate this summer in Little Rock is a significant increase in the number of people carrying clipboards. They are asking whether you will assist in getting something on the ballot rather than for a vote or your candidate of choice.

Kristin Stuart is employed by the activist organization Indivisible Little Rock Central Arkansas, which aims to gather thousands of signatures on a range of ballot topics by July 5.

“I know [the] abortion [amendment] is about 75% of the way [to the signature goal],” Stuart stated. This would not turn it into law. This would just ensure that it appears on the November ballot, granting Arkansans the right to vote and express their opinions.”

In addition to the aforementioned ballot measures, Indivisible Arkansas is in favor of laws pertaining to medical marijuana, education, the pink tax, and freedom of information.

However, not everyone—including the conservative organization Family Council—supports putting these matters to a vote.

“We are opposed to the abortion measure and the marijuana measure, and we’re right now urging people not to sign the petition,” Family Council Executive Director Jerry Cox said.

The Family Council has enlisted its own volunteers to oppose the proposals and has also made the identities of those canvassers public.

“If our volunteers in a city out somewhere around the state know that there are paid canvassers in their community, then they can be on the lookout,” Cox said. “They can actually go to the very same events. It’s their constitutional right, and they can urge people not to sign the petition and make their case.”

But as election-year preparations heat up early, canvassers like Stuart and the opposition have no intention of slowing down anytime soon.

“We are in favor of people being able to put things on the ballot, and we are in favor of people being able to oppose it,” Cox said. “That’s freedom. That’s democracy.”

The state must receive all petitions by July 5. After that, the state will confirm the signatures to decide what will appear on the ballot.


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