2014 Arkansas Code
Title 14 - Local Government
Subtitle 2 - County Government
Chapter 14 - County Government Code
Subchapter 1 - General Provisions
§ 14-14-107 - Petitions.
(a) Requirements. Whenever a petition is authorized in the conduct of county affairs, except initiative and referendum petitions as provided in §§ 14-14-914 -- 14-14-918, unless the statute authorizing the petition establishes different criteria, the petition shall be valid if it is signed by fifteen percent (15%) of the qualified electors of the county or portion of the county affected by the petition, with the number of electors of the county or portion of the county to be determined in the manner set forth in subdivision (a)(6) of this section, and if the petition meets the following requirements:
(1) Qualified Electors. Petitions shall be signed only by qualified electors of the county in which the measure of local application is sought by petition. A qualified elector shall be defined as any person duly registered and qualified to vote pursuant to the provisions of Arkansas Constitution, Amendment 51;
(2) Signatures. (A) The signatures on all petitions shall be the signatures evidenced by voter registration. A signature which is in substantial compliance with these requirements and which is readily identifiable from the additional information required from the signer on the petition shall be counted as sufficient.
(B) Penalty for Fraudulent Signature. Any person who shall sign any name other than his or her own to a petition, who shall knowingly sign his or her name more than once for the same measure, or who shall sign the petition when he or she is not a legal voter of the county when the measure is of local application to the county only shall be guilty of a felony and may be imprisoned in the state penitentiary for not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years;
(3) Statement of Purpose. The petition shall contain a statement of the purpose for which it is circulated sufficient to meet the specific criteria set out in the statute authorizing the petition;
(4) Filing of Petitions. All petitions relating to county affairs shall be directed to the judge of the county court and filed with the county clerk. All petitions, upon verification of sufficiency by the county clerk, shall be referred to the county quorum court during the next regular meeting of that body for consideration and disposition. However, a special meeting of the quorum court may be called as provided by law for the consideration and disposition of petitions;
(5) Verification of Petitions. Only legal voters shall be counted upon petitions. Petitions may be circulated and presented in parts, but each part of any petition shall have attached thereto the affidavit of the persons circulating them affirming that:
(A) All signatures thereon were made in the presence of the affiant; and
(B) To the best of the affiant's knowledge and belief, each signature is genuine and the person signing is a legal voter.
No other affidavit or verification shall be required to establish the genuineness of such signatures;
(6) Sufficiency of Petitions. The sufficiency of all county petitions shall be decided in the first instance by the county clerk, subject to review by the circuit court. The number of signatures required in a county petition shall be based on the total number of votes cast in the last general election for the office of circuit clerk, or the Office of Governor in cases where the office of circuit clerk may have been abolished;
(7) Challenge of Petition. If the sufficiency of any petition is challenged, that cause shall be a preference cause and shall be tried at once. However, the failure of the courts to reach a decision prior to the election, if an election is required, as to the sufficiency of any petition shall not prevent the question from being placed upon the ballot at the election named in the petition, nor militate against the validity of the measure if it shall have been approved by a vote of the people; and
(8) Amendment of Petitions. If the county clerk shall decide any petition to be insufficient, without delay he or she shall notify the sponsors of the petition and permit at least thirty (30) days from the date of the notification for correction. In the event of legal proceedings to prevent giving legal effect to any petition upon any grounds, the burden of proof shall be upon the person attacking the validity of the petition.
(b) Unwarranted Restrictions Prohibited. (1) No law shall be passed to prohibit any person from giving or receiving compensation for circulating petitions, nor to prohibit the circulation of petitions, nor in any manner to interfere with the freedom of the people in procuring petitions.
(2) Laws shall be enacted prohibiting and penalizing perjury, forgery, and all other felonies or other fraudulent practices in the securing of signatures or filing of petitions.
(c) Declaration of Sufficiency. Within ten (10) calendar days from the date a petition was filed with the county clerk, the clerk shall determine the adequacy of the petition.
(d) Withdrawal of Signatures. Any person may in writing withdraw his or her signature from a petition at any time prior to the time of filing the petition with the county clerk. Unless otherwise specifically provided by law, no elector shall be permitted to withdraw his or her signature from a petition after it has been filed.
(e) Publication -- Costs. All petitions under the provisions of this section shall be published as provided by law. All costs of any petition shall be borne by the petitioners.
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