Arkansas Wins 2020, the group seeking to put a constitutional amendment on the ballot to legalize 16 more casinos controlled by amendment backers, got another setback today.
A spokesman said the state Board of Election of Commissioners had voted 5-1 against certifying the amendment for the ballot. The board has the authority to determine the sufficiency of a ballot title.
Secretary of State John Thurston had already ruled the petition drive ineligible because of flaws he found in compliance with state rules applying to paid canvassers, such as required criminal background checks. The committee was already appealing that decision in court and will add the board’s refusal to its appeal.
I’m told the single Democratic representative on the commission was the only vote to certify the amendment for the ballot. I don’t have details of the discussion, but the casino amendment is opposed by existing casinos in Arkansas.
The state board earlier had rejected an open primaries amendment opposed by the Republican Party but did certify a proposal to establish a non-partisan legislative redistricting commission, also opposed by the GOP. Thurston, a Republican, has disqualified both these amendments as well. Court appeals are pending.