Arkansas Casino Supporters Get 30-Day Extension to Collect Petition Signatures
The political group behind the push to legalize casinos in Arkansas failed to meet the minimum number of signatures required to qualify their initiative for the ballot last week. Driving Arkansas Forward was granted a 30-day extension to collect more petition signatures by the Secretary of State.
The nonprofit organization seeks to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot that would allow up to four casinos in Arkansas. The group submitted over 96,000 signatures, well over the 84,859 required to qualify a ballot initiative. However, the Secretary of State’s office invalidated around 26,000 of the signatures.
With only 70,054 verified signatures, the initiative was nearly dead in the water. State law specifies that ballot questions need to present a number of signatures equal to 10 percent of the total votes received in the most recent gubernatorial election.
Multiple casino gambling proposals have failed in Arkansas in recent years. Six proposals were rejected in just the last two years. After one of its past proposals was rejected, Driving Arkansas Forward launched a lawsuit against Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge but later dropped the suit when Rutledge conceded to approve the wording of a new ballot measure.
After the Secretary of State granted the group an extension to gather more signatures, Rutledge released a statement on the measure’s chances of success. She warned that the measure is still subject to legal challenges from citizens once it has sufficient signatures for the ballot. She went on to add that it “is a real possibility” the proposal will not appear on the November ballot even if it is certified.