You have full Initiative & Referendum rights. Citizens can pass laws they write or suspend a statute passed by the Legislature by collecting enough petition signatures to place the statute on the statewide ballot for a decision by the voters. Voters can also initiate constitutional amendments by Initiative.


See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.

Grade: B+

Click here to view Arkansa’s individual report in Of the People, By the People, For the People: A 2010 Report Card on Statewide Voter Initiative Rights.

Citizen State Coordinator

For more information about how to get involved in protecting and expanding Arkansas’ initiative process, contact the Citizens in Charge Foundation Arkansas Citizen State Coordinator:

Darren Lee


Email Darren

State Balloting Process

How you can change Arkansas’s government through ballot initiatives


The Arkansas Populist Party endorsed initiative and referendum in its
1896 state platform, and the Democrats followed suit in 1898. But it was
not until a decade later that the Democrat George W. Donaghey won
election as governor and, in 1909, successfully shepherded an I&R
amendment through the legislature. It won voter ratification on
September 5, 1910… Read More

Ballot Qualifications & Schedule

Date Initiative language can be submitted: Any time.

Signatures are tied to vote of which office: Governor

Next Gubernatorial election: 2010

Votes cast for governor in last election: 774,680

Net number of signatures required: For a constitutional amendment it is
10% of the total number of votes cast for Governor in the last
gubernatorial election (77,468). For a statute, it is 8% of the total number of
votes cast for Governor in the last gubernatorial election. (61,974)

Distribution Requirement: 5% in 15 of 75 counties for amendments and 4%
in 15 of 75 counties for statutes.

Circulation period: Unlimited

Do circulators have to be residents: No

Date when signatures are due for certification: 4 months prior to the next General Election

Signature verification process: The Secretary of State will verify signatures
up to 10% above the designated number. However, the Secretary of State
will not accept additional signatures if the petition is determined to be
sufficient after the initial submission even if the number is one signature
over the required number. Nor will the Secretary of State accept
additional signatures after the initial submission until a determination of
sufficiency is made. If a petition is determined not to contain the requisite
number of valid signatures, a sponsor may within 30 days of notification of
insufficiency from the Secretary of State do any or all of the following: A)
Solicit and obtain additional signatures; B) Submit proof that the rejected
signatures or some of them are good and should be counted; C) Make
the petition more definite or certain. The Secretary of State will set
designated times to accept the additional signatures from a notified

Single-subject restriction: No

Legislative tampering: Initiatives can be amended or repealed by a 2/3
vote of each house.

Excerpted from the Initiative & Referendum Almanac by M. Dane Waters.