Articles 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

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At issue in this case was the sufficiency of signatures counted by Mark Martin, the Secretary of State, in the initial ballot petition, “The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act.” The Act was on the November 8, 2016 ballot and was sponsored by Arkansans for Compassionate Care 2016. The sponsor initially submitted 117,547 signatures. Martin validated 77,516 signatures. In challenging the sufficiency of the petition, Kara Benca needed to invalidate 9,629 signatures to have the petition removed. A special master appointed by the Supreme Court found that 2,087 signatures were disqualified but that the remainder of the signatures could be counted. The Supreme Court disallowed 12,104 signatures, leaving approximately 2,465 fewer signatures than required to satisfy constitutional requirements. View "Benca v. Martin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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This case concerned the proposed constitutional amendment known as An Amendment to Limit Attorney Contingency Fees and Non-Economic Damages in Medical Lawsuits. The Attorney General certified the popular name, as modified, and ballot title of the proposed constitutional amendment, and the Secretary of State certified the proposed amendment to be placed on the ballot for the November 8 general election. Petitioners brought this original action asking the Supreme Court to declare the ballot title of the proposed amendment insufficient. The Supreme Court granted the petition, holding that the ballot title was insufficient. View "Wilson v. Martin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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This case concerned the proposed constitutional amendment known as An Amendment to Limit Attorney Contingency Fees and Non-Economic Damages in Medical Lawsuits. Petitioners brought this original action seeking an order to invalidate the proposed amendment, alleging failure to comply with mandatory canvasser certification laws, failure to submit the requisite number of verified signatures, and insufficiency of the amendment’s ballot title. This opinion addressed the sufficiency of the ballot title. The Supreme Court granted the petition to enjoin the Secretary of State from counting or certifying ballots cast for the amendment, holding that the ballot title of the proposed amendment was insufficient. View "Ross v. Martin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Arkansas Attorney General issued an opinion approving the popular name and ballot title for a proposed constitutional amendment known as The Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment of 2016. Petitioner, individually and on behalf of Arkansans Against Legalized Marijuana, brought this original action challenging the sufficiency of the ballot title of the proposed amendment, alleging that the ballot title contains misleading statements and omits material information that is essential for a fair understanding of the amendment. The Supreme Court denied the petition, holding that voters in the upcoming November election will be able to reach an intelligent and informed decision for or against the proposed amendment. View "Rose v. Martin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Issue No. 5 was a proposed constitutional amendment to allow three casinos to operate in three counties in Arkansas. The Secretary of State certified to place Issue No. 5 on the November 8, 2016 ballot. Petitioners, individually and on behalf of the Committee to Protect Arkansas’ Values/Stop Casinos Now, brought this original action challenging the legal sufficiency of the ballot title for Issue No. 5. The Sponsors of the Act intervened in this matter and filed a motion to dismiss. The Supreme Court denied the motion to dismiss and granted the petition, holding that the ballot title of the proposed amendment was insufficient. View "Lange v. Martin" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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On July 7, 2016, the Secretary of State certified that The Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act had met the constitutional signature requirements in order to place the proposed initiated act on the Arkansas general election ballot of November 8, 2016. Dr. Melanie Conway, both individually and on behalf of Arkansas Against Legalized Marijuana, brought this original action challenging the legal sufficiency of the Act’s ballot title. Arkansas for Compassionate Care 2016 successfully moved to intervene in the action in support of the Act’s ballot title. The Supreme Court denied Conway’s petition, holding that Conway did not meet her burden of proving that the ballot title was legally insufficient. View "Conway v. Martin" on Justia Law