Arkansas abortion amendment gets more than 100,000 backers

The supporters of a proposal to allow Arkansas voters to relax the state’s nearly total abortion ban announced Friday that they had submitted more than 100 000 signatures. This is more than enough for it to be included on the ballot in November.

The deadline for Arkansas ballot question petitions was Friday. This is a significant milestone that will determine if ballot measures on issues ranging from the state Freedom of Information Act, to medical marijuana will be put before voters.

Rebecca Bobrow said that on Monday, the campaign had around 10,000 signatures short of its goal. After months of steady progress, the fate for the abortion amendment was decided by a few fast-paced days of campaigning.

She wrote in an email, “I think it will be close.” It’s a thrilling/stressful race towards the finish line.


She said, in a Friday morning text message: “As we speak, more (signature packets) are being sent to us.”

The abortion Amendment

The proposed Arkansas state constitution amendment, if approved in November, would lift the nearly total ban on abortions currently in place in Arkansas. This only allows abortions to be performed in order to save the mother’s life.

The amendment would allow abortions up to 18-weeks after fertilization, and for rape, fetal abnormality, and fatal incest. It also allows for the protection of the mother’s health.

The general election ballot will be statewide for committees who meet the signature threshold. The threshold for constitutional amendments is 90704 signatures or 10% of the total votes cast in the previous gubernatorial elections. For state statutes initiated, it’s 72,563 or 8%.

A recent law requires that signatures be collected in 50 of the 75 counties in Arkansas, not the 15 as specified by the constitution.

The Secretary of State’s office has 30 calendar days after receiving signatures to notify the ballot question committees if the signatures submitted are valid and if any need to be corrected.

The Secretary of State’s Office has stated that committees are notified when they are found to be eligible. Ballot questions must be certified publically by August 22.

Abortion measure backs are setting daily records as the deadline nears

Bobrow said that Arkansans for Limited Government had collected nearly 1,000 signatures Monday and almost 4,000 on the following day. These daily counts broke records in the office for signature collection during the week.

She wrote that rates have increased significantly over the past six weeks.

Ask any teacher that you know. Nearly 100% of students turn in their homework as soon as the deadline is approaching. It’s no different.

Unexpectedly, an unexpected twist emerged in recent days. An unidentified individual or group sent a blast-email Thursday claiming to represent Arkansans for Limited Government. They said that organizers and volunteer should stop collecting signatures.

“It’s OVER! The email said “It’s over!

We have more than enough signed now. So we hope everyone enjoys the rest of their holiday and CELEBRATES this victory!

Bobrow stated on Friday that she did not think the emails would have much of an impact since the committee sent out emails quickly debunking them. However, she was concerned to know that hostile actors may have gotten their mailing list.

What other ballot measures qualify?

Arkansans for Limited Government wasn’t the only group to see a close call in the end.

Bill Kopsky, a member of the board for AR Kids, is pushing to amend the Constitution to guarantee universal pre-K access, special education programs for children living in poverty, summer and after-school programs, as well as quality standards at public schools.

He admitted Wednesday to being “nervous”. The committee still lacked around 25,000 signatures. He said that he still believed they were on the right track to reach their goal. He said that “people are really coming out of hiding” to sign.

Some committees have already exceeded the minimum requirements well before the deadline.

Bill Paschall said that Arkansans for Patient Access had already reached the threshold. The ballot question committee is advancing an amendment to the state constitution that would allow pharmacists and nurse practitioners to prescribe medical marijuana, and to allow patients to grow the drug at home.

Arkansans for Patient Access has already collected “more than 100,000” signatures. This is at least 10,000 more that they require.

The heatwave has also slowed down the trend.

He said, “It’s the most deterrent to canvassers right now.” It’s hot outside.

Local Citizens in Charge (Local Citizens in Charge), a committee that advocates for county control of the decision to build a new casino, received more than 162,000 signed petitions on Friday.

Not all ballot-question committees are as open about their signature counts. Katie Clark, chairperson of the Arkansas Period Poverty Project which seeks to eliminate the sales tax on diapers and menstrual products, stated in an email on Monday that they were not planning on releasing figures until the Secretary of State’s office verified all their signatures.

Clark clarified this caution by saying: “We may believe that we have reached the required number but (the Secretary State) may still reject some (signatures for various reasons.”

She said: “We feel very good about our prospects!”