Arkansas Wins 2020, the mystery group backing a constitutional amendment to legalize 16 more casinos in Arkansas, has demanded that Secretary of State John Thurston certify its petitions to put the amendment on the November ballot.

Thurston rejected that petition drive — along with two other unrelated petition drive — because many of the petitions said paid canvassers had “acquired” rather than “passed” a criminal background check required by law. This supposed flaw was cited by a special master considering another petition campaign to refer to voters a law giving broader surgical privileges to optometrists.

That special master’s ruling hasn’t been considered yet by the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The organizers for the other two petition campaigns — on legislative redistricting and primary voting — have already said their canvassers HAD passed background checks and the signatures should be counted. They’ve also asked for an extended period to continue gathering signatures.


Arkansas Wins 2020 in its letter from Little Rock lawyer Todd Wooten said its petitions were accompanied by a statement regarding paid canvassers that said explictly that its canvassers had “passed” a background check before gathering signatures. The letter also complained that Thurston had waited eight days to notify them of his finding.

The letter asks Thurston to withdraw the finding of insufficiency by 5 p.m. Tuesday or explain why he cannot.