Articles Posted in Election Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the circuit court’s order entering a declaratory judgment finding that Senate Joint Resolution 8 was not referred in accord with article 19, section 22 of the Arkansas Constitution and issuing a writ of mandamus ordering Secretary of State Mark Martin to refrain from counting, canvassing, or certifying any votes cast for or against the resolution. Appellee filed a complaint seeking a declaration that the resolution at issue, designated as “Issue No. 1” on the ballot for the November 6, 2018 general election, was unconstitutional, along with a request for either a writ of mandamus or injunctive relief. The circuit court granted Appellee’s request for declaratory relief, finding that Issue No. 1 violates article 19, section 22. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the submission of Issue No. 1 violates article 19, section 22; and (2) therefore, Appellee was entitled to both a declaratory judgment and a writ of mandamus. View "Martin v. Humphrey" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied Petitioner’s petition challenging the sufficiency of a statewide-initiative petition entitled “An Act to Increase the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act,” a petition that was on the November 6, 2018 ballot, holding that there was no merit in Petitioner’s claims. The Supreme Court appointed a special master in this matter, who entered his findings that the petition had sufficient signatures to qualify for placement on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Relying on Stephens v. Martin, 491 S.W. 3d 451 (Ark. 2014), the Supreme Court denied this petition, holding that Petitioner’s claims were without merit. View "Zook v. Martin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court denied the petition filed by Petitioners claiming that the popular name and ballot title of Issue Number 4, a proposed constitutional amendment concerning casino gambling, were insufficient, holding that Issue Number 4 was proper for inclusion on the November 6, 2018 ballot. Specifically, the Court held that all of the twenty-seven challenges brought by Petitioners in support of their claims failed, that there was no fatal infirmity with the popular name or ballot title of Issue Number 4, and that the proposed amendment’s popular name and ballot title were sufficient. View "Stiritz v. Honorable Mark Martin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court denied the original action brought by Petitioner, individually and on behalf of Citizens for Local Choice, challenging the sufficiency of the ballot title with regarding to Issue Number 4, which provides for the issuance of four casino licenses in the state, holding that Petitioner did not meet his burden of proving that the ballot title was insufficient. Specifically, the Court held that Issue No. 4 was proper for inclusion on the November 6, 2018 ballot because (1) the popular name and ballot title of the issue gave voters a fair understanding of the issues presented, and (2) the scope and significance of the proposed changes in law were not misleading and allowed voters to reach an informed decision for or against the proposal. View "Knight v. Martin" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order entering a preliminary injunction in favor of Plaintiff in his challenge to Act 633 of 2017, which concerns verification of voter registration, holding that Plaintiff failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits because Act 633 comports with the requirements in Amendment 51 to the Arkansas Constitution for its amendment. The circuit court entered a preliminary injunction order prohibiting and enjoining Appellants from enforcing the requirements of Act 633. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded, holding (1) this action was not subject to the sovereign-immunity defense; (2) Plaintiff had standing to challenge the Act’s constitutionality; but (3) Act 633’s constitutional amendment is germane to Amendment 51 and consistent with its policy and purpose and is therefore constitutional. View "Honorable Mark Martin v. Haas" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court granting a petition for writ of mandamus filed by Jefferson County Judge Hank Wilkins ex rel. Jefferson County, Arkansas, holding that the circuit court did not have the authority to order Appellants - the Jefferson County Election Commission (CBEC) and the Jefferson County Election Commissioner - to provide the election coordinator (EC) for Jefferson County with information and access to items necessary to facilitate an election process. The circuit court concluded that the election commissioners had prevented the Jefferson County EC, William Fox, from pursuing the duties of EC and that mandamus was the appropriate remedy. The court ordered the CBEC to provide Fox with “all necessary keys, logins, passwords, data, information, and any other items necessary to facilitate the election process.” The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the CBEC did not abuse its discretion by refusing to use the services of the EC, did not act without or in excess of jurisdiction, and did not otherwise err in its actions. View "Jefferson County Election Commission v. Honorable Hank Wilkins ex rel. Jefferson County, Arkansas" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Keep Our Dollars in Independence County (KODIC), a local-option ballot question committee, sponsored a petition to allow Independence County voters to decide whether to permit the manufacture and sale of alcoholic beverages in the county. Tracey Mitchell, the Independence County Clerk, determined that the petition was insufficient to be placed on the November 8, 2016 ballot because 424 otherwise valid signatures had not been counted on the grounds that those signatures appeared on petition parts also containing the signature of someone outside Independence County in violation of Ark. Code Ann. 3-8-811(b)(6). KODIC and taxpayer Carol Crosby appealed, arguing that section 3-8-811(b)(6) is unconstitutional. The circuit court affirmed Mitchell’s certification of insufficiency. The Supreme Court dismissed the parties’ appeal and the cross-appeal, holding that the issues raised on direct appeal and on cross-appeal were moot because the November 8, 2016 general election has already occurred. View "Keep Our Dollars in Independence County v. Mitchell" on Justia Law

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On January 19, 2016, the Board of Directors of the City of Hot Springs passed an ordinance annexing certain land. The City of Hot Springs then published the ordinance. On February 23, 2016, a petition sponsor delivered a referendum petition in opposition to the ordinance to the city clerk of Hot Springs, who rejected the petition as untimely. Appellant filed a petition for writ of mandamus requesting a writ commanding the city clerk and/or the City to accept and certify the petition. The circuit court denied the petition for writ of mandamus, concluding that the petition was untimely. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not err in concluding that Ordinance No. 4533 governs the time for filing a referendum petition and that the deadline for filing a referendum petition is thirty days after the passage of an ordinance. View "Pritchett v. Spicer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The circuit court issued a temporary injunction and enjoined the August 9, 2016 special election to amend an existing sales-and-use tax and to issue bonds to finance the construction of a new Mississippi County courthouse, ruling that section 20 of Act 18 of 1901 prohibits a countywide sales-and-use tax to fund the construction of a new county courthouse. Mississippi County appealed. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeals as moot because (1) the special election enjoined was scheduled for a date that has passed; and (2) this appeal is rendered moot by the Court’s decision in a companion case that resolved the pertinent issues. View "Mississippi County v. City of Osceola" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Resolution No. R-2016-16 referred Ordinance No. O-2016-16, which amended an existing sales-and-use tax ordinance to change the indicated use of revenues, to the voters for approval or rejection in a special election to be held on March 14, 2016. Ordinance No. O-2016-17 called a special election on the question of issuing bonds for the construction of a new courthouse in Blytheville in Mississippi County. Appellees filed a petition seeking a temporary and permanent injunction of the March 14, 2016 special election. The circuit court granted Appellees’ petition for a permanent injunction of the special election, ruling that Act 81 of 1901 invalidated the ordinances and resolution. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circuit court did not abuse its discretion by enjoining a special election on the grounds that Act 81 of 1901 prohibits an ordinance that authorizes the issuance of bonds to finance the new courthouse. View "Mississippi County v. City of Osceola" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law