logo

Many perspectives, 1 simple etiquette

Arkansas Voters Reject Attack on Citizen Initiative Process

image
Created: 09 November, 2022
2 min read

An overwhelming majority of Arkansas voters rejected Issue 2 on the ballot Tuesday. The measure would have raised the minimum threshold to pass future state ballot initiatives to 60% of the vote, and no doubt would have deterred many future reform efforts in the state.

"We are extremely happy that Arkansans overwhelmingly defeated Issue 2 & kept power where it belongs - in the hands of voters,” said Bonnie Miller, chair of Protect AR Constitution.

“We sent a clear message to politicians & lobbyists trying to steal our constitutional rights: STOP."

Issue 2 was a legislative-referred measure, which means a majority of state lawmakers voted to put it on the ballot. A “yes” vote on the measure would have affected not just changes to the state constitution but any citizen ballot initiative – an unprecedented restriction on voters’ rights.

Twenty-six states allow citizen-led ballot initiatives, but none of them require more than a simple majority for state statutes or veto referendums. Florida, Utah, and Washington, however, have a supermajority requirement for specific constitutional changes. 

The attack on the citizen initiative process is not isolated to a single state. RepresentUs released a report that found that since 2017, 64 bills have been proposed in state legislatures across the country to make it harder to get citizen initiatives on the ballot and pass them.

None of these efforts succeeded, but that doesn’t mean lawmakers will stop trying. Elected officials have increased these efforts as citizens use their power to reform an electoral and political process rigged against them.

Notably, raising the vote threshold by ten percentage points would have a devastating impact on many citizen-led campaigns. The amount of money, resources, and people needed on the ground to reach enough voters to attempt 60% would rise exponentially.

Make no mistake: That is the point. Raising the bar on citizen initiatives is meant to be a deterrent to stop future campaigns before they can get off the ground.

South Dakota voters soundly defeated a constitutional amendment similar to Issue 2 in June. 

Read more

fair maps
Gerrymandering Reform: Are We Asking the Wrong Question?
Photo Credit:  ...
01 March, 2024
-
7 min read
joined hands
10 Reasons Why Americans Are Not as Divided as You Think
Photo by on  Party leaders, politicians, and media pundits and talking heads would have US voters b...
28 February, 2024
-
7 min read
people
LetUsVote: New Campaign Launches to End Discrimination Against Independent Voters
Open Primaries, in partnership with Unite America, announced the launch of LetUsVote Wednesday, a nationwide initiative that aims to mobilize and empower independent voters, who make up the largest voting bloc in the US but are treated like second-class voters....
27 February, 2024
-
4 min read
voting
For Good or Bad, Primary Changes May Be Coming to Elections Near You
Photo Credit:  The last couple of years have seen an increase in states looking to change their prim...
26 February, 2024
-
4 min read
voted
The Primary Problem: Only 8% of Voters Elect 83% of Our Representatives
In his latest podcast, former Democratic presidential candidate and Forward Party Co-Founder Andrew ...
26 February, 2024
-
3 min read
Weber
Blame This One on Secretary of State Weber
Eight years ago, there was a competition still in play between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton wh...
26 February, 2024
-
4 min read