The U of A System Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center has produced a neutral voter guide for the statewide ballot issues
Election Day is Nov. 6
Arkansas has 1.7 million voters, but there is often a low turnout on Election Day. In fact, for the vast majority of counties in the state, voter turnout tends to be less than 55 percent, according to data published Tuesday by the Washington Post.
The numbers are often even lower for state ballot issues, said Kristin Higgins, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center program associate.
“Thousands of more people vote for governor, but then don’t vote at all on the statewide ballot issues, which often include policies that affect every person in the state,” Higgins said. “Voting on constitutional amendments or initiated acts are where Arkansans have a real impact on shaping the state and how we do things here.”
The Division of Agriculture Public Policy Center has produced a neutral voter guide on all the statewide ballot issues, available online at http://bit.ly/2JemOsf, or in print at your local county extension office. The center has also made short videos for each ballot issue, available on the Division of Agriculture YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/ARextension, so that all Arkansans can become informed voters.
“Voting is a right,” Higgins said. “Take the time to understand the ballot issues and then take the time to vote.”
Early voting began Oct. 22. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6. Voting locations will be open that day from 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
On the ballot
Issue 2: This proposed constitutional amendment would require citizens to show photo ID when voting in person or by absentee ballot. Currently, Arkansas requires voters to be a U.S. citizen, an Arkansas resident, be at least 18 years old and be lawfully registered to vote. This amendment would add a photo ID in addition to the current requirements to vote. Legislators would decide what types of identification would be accepted and create exemptions to the requirement. Issue 2 would require the state to provide free photo identification to those who do not have acceptable ID. Those who do not have IDs could vote using a provisional ballot. The legislature would have the authority to pass laws implementing Issue 2.
Issue 4: This proposed constitutional amendment would allow casino gaming at four locations in Arkansas: Oaklawn in Hots Springs, Southland in West Memphis, one location in Jefferson County and one location in Pope County. Pope and Jefferson county applicants would be required to submit a letter of support from the county judge or quorum court, and if locating inside city limits, from the mayor. Issue 4 would allow gaming at any time of the day and would put casinos under the oversight of the Arkansas Racing Commission. The proposal would put a tax on casino gaming revenue that remains after the casinos pay out the winners or set aside funds. The tax revenue would go to the state general revenue fund, to the county and city governments and the Arkansas Gaming Commission.
Issue 5: This is a proposed state law that would increase the current minimum wage of $8.50 per hour to $9.25 next year, then to $10 in 2020 and to $11 in 2021. This state law applies to employers with four or more employees who are not already exempt under existing state law.
The Arkansas Supreme Court has disqualified Issue 1 and Issue 3.
The Public Policy Center exists to provide Arkansans with research-based information and education about public issues that are pressing, emerging, involve multiple points of view and have widespread consequences.
For more information about the ballot issues and to sign up for the monthly newsletter visit, uaex.edu/ballot, and follow @uappc on Facebook and @UAEX_PPC on Twitter for all the latest updates.