2010 Arkansas Code
Title 14 - Local Government
Subtitle 2 - County Government
Chapter 14 - County Government Code
Subchapter 9 - Legislative Procedures
§ 14-14-917 - Initiative and referendum elections.

14-14-917. Initiative and referendum elections.

(a) Time of Election for Initiative and Referendum Measures. (1) Initiative. Initiative petition measures shall be considered by the electors only at a regular general election at which state and county officers are elected for regular terms.

(2) Referendum. Referendum petition measures may be submitted to the electors during a regular general election and shall be submitted if the adequacy of the petition is determined within the time limitation prescribed in this section. A referendum measure may also be referred to the electors at a special election called for the expressed purpose proposed by petition. However, no referendum petition certified within the time limitations established for initiative measures shall be referred to a special election, but shall be voted upon at the next regular election. No referendum election shall be held less than sixty (60) days after the certification of adequacy of the petition by the county clerk.

(3) Calling Special Elections. The jurisdiction to establish the necessity for a special election on referendum measures is vested in the electors through the provisions of petition. Where such jurisdiction is not exercised by the electors, the county court of each of the several counties may determine such necessity. However, a quorum court may compel the calling of a special election by a county court through resolution adopted during a regularly scheduled meeting of the quorum court. The resolution may specify a reasonable time limitation in which a county court order calling the special election shall be entered.

(4) Time of Special Election. The county court shall fix the date for the conduct of any special elections on referendum measures. The date shall be not less than established under 7-11-201 et seq. When the electors exercise their powers to establish the necessity for a special election, the county court shall order an election according to the dates stated in 7-11-201 et seq.

(b) Certification Requirements. (1) Numeric Designation of Initiative and Referendum Measures. The county clerk shall, upon finding an initiative or referendum petition sufficient and prior to delivery of such certification to a board of election commissioners and quorum court, cause the measure to be entered into the legislative agenda register of the quorum court. This entry shall be in the order of the original filing of petition, and the register entry number shall be the official numeric designation of the proposed measure for election ballot purposes.

(2) Certification of Sufficiency. The certification of sufficiency for initiative and referendum petitions transmitted by the county clerk to the county board of election commissioners and quorum court shall include the ballot title of the proposed measure, the legislative agenda registration number, and a copy of the proposed measure, omitting signatures. The ballot title certified to the board shall be the comprehensive title of the measure proposed by petition, and the delivery of the certification to the chairman or secretary of the board shall be deemed sufficient notice to the members of the board and their successors.

(c) Notice of Election. (1) Initiative Petitions. The county clerk shall, upon certification of any initiative or referendum petition measure submitted during the time limitations for a regular election, give notice, through publication by a two-time insertion, at not less than a seven-day interval, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or as provided by law. Publication notice shall state that the measure will be submitted to the electors for adoption or rejection at the next regular election and shall include the full text, the ballot title, and the official numeric designation of the measure.

(2) Referendum Petition. The county clerk shall, upon certifying any referendum petition prior to the time limitations of filing measures established for a regular election, give notice through publication by a one-time insertion in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or as provided by law. Publication notice shall state that the measure will be submitted to the electors for adoption or rejection at the next regular election or a special election when ordered by the county court and shall include the full text, the ballot title, and the official numeric designation of the measure.

(3) Publication of Special Referendum Election Notice. Upon filing of a special election order by the county court, the county clerk shall give notice of the election through publication by a two-time insertion, at not less than a seven-day interval, in a newspaper of general circulation in the county or as provided by law. Publication shall state that the measure will be submitted to the electors for adoption or rejection at a special election and shall include the full text, the date of the election, the ballot title, and official numeric designation of the measure.

(4) Costs. The cost of all publication notices required in this section shall be paid out of the county general fund.

(d) Ballot Specifications for Initiative and Referendum Measures. Upon receipt of any initiative or referendum measure certified as sufficient by a county clerk, it shall be the duty of the members of the county board of election commissioners to take due cognizance and to certify the results of the vote cast thereon. The board shall cause the ballot title to be placed on the ballot to be used in the election, stating plainly and separately the title of the ordinance or measure so initiated or referred to the electors with these words:

FOR PROPOSED INITIATIVE (OR REFERRED) ORDINANCE (OR AMENDMENT)

NO. _________________

AGAINST PROPOSED INITIATIVE (OR REFERRED) ORDINANCE (OR AMENDMENT)

NO. _________________

so electors may vote upon such ordinance or measure. In arranging the ballot title on the ballot, the commissioners shall place it separate and apart from the ballot titles of the state acts, constitutional amendments, and the like. If the board of election commissioners fails or refuses to submit a proposed initiative or referendum ordinance when it is properly petitioned and certified as sufficient, the qualified electors of the county may vote for or against the ordinance or measure by writing or stamping on their ballots the proposed ballot title, followed by the word "FOR" or "AGAINST", and a majority of the votes so cast shall be sufficient to adopt or reject the proposed ordinance.

(e) Conflicting Measures. Where two (2) or more ordinances or measures shall be submitted by separate petition at any one (1) election, covering the same subject matter and being for the same general purpose, but different in terms, words, and figures, the ordinance or measure receiving the greatest number of affirmative votes shall be declared the law, and all others shall be declared rejected.

(f) Contest of Election. The right to contest the returns and certification of the vote cast upon any proposed initiative or referendum measure is expressly conferred upon any ten (10) qualified electors of the county. The contest shall be brought in the circuit court and shall be conducted under the procedure for contesting the election of county officers, except that the complaint shall be filed within sixty (60) days after the certification of the vote and no bond shall be required of the contestants.

(g) Vote Requirement for Enactment of Ordinance. Any measure submitted to the electors as provided in this section shall take effect and become law when approved by a majority of the votes cast upon the measure, and not otherwise, and shall not be required to receive a majority of the electors voting at the election. The measure so enacted shall be operative on and after the thirtieth day after the election at which it is approved, unless otherwise specified in the ordinance or amendment.
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