Arkansas rejects petitions submitted for 3 ballot measures

Sec. of State John Thurston rejected all three petitions, citing issues with background checks.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Arkansas’ top election official has rejected the petitions for three initiatives vying for spots on the November ballot, citing issues with background checks.

Secretary of State John Thurston on Tuesday said his office could not count the signatures turned in for the proposals to overhaul Arkansas’ redistricting process, create an open primary system and expand casino gambling.

Thurston said the groups did not comply with a state law requiring them to certify that their signature gatherers passed criminal background checks.

The campaigns submitted thousands of signatures last week in hopes of qualifying their proposals for the ballot. The proposals need at least 89,151 valid signatures from registered voters to qualify.

All three campaigns criticized Thurston’s decision. Arkansas Wins in 2020, the group behind the casino expansion effort, said it would file a petition for review with the state Supreme Court over the state’s move. 

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