On October 10, the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of two individuals who have organized statewide initiative petition drives in Arkansas in the recent past, and who hope to sponsor new initiatives in the near future. The lawsuit challenges restrictions placed on initiatives by the 2013 session of the legislature. The case is Spencer v Sealy, Pulaski Circuit Court, 60cv-13-4020. Here is the Complaint.
The challenged restrictions include: (1) the names and addresses of all paid circulators must be filed with the Secretary of State before those petitioners can start to work; (2) paid circulators must sign an oath that they have not been convicted of certain kinds of crime; (3) they must submit a picture of themselves that was taken within the last 90 days; (4) if a petition sheet contains the signature of even one voter who is from the wrong county for that sheet, the entire sheet is invalid; (5) the law makes it a criminal offense for a circulator to fill in any blanks on behalf of the voter, unless the voter is “disabled” (the law doesn’t define “disabled”); (6) if a petition sheet contains even one signature that has a “material defect” the entire sheet is invalid (the law doesn’t define “material defect”).
There will be a trial next month. This is the type of lawsuit that requires considerable evidence. The lawsuit is filed in state court because the state Constitution protects the initiative process, so the plaintiffs will argue that the new restrictions violate the State Constitution. Thanks to Paul Jacob for this news.