LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A proposed Arkansas constitutional amendment submitted to the legislature Monday would upend the election process in the state if ultimately approved by voters.
Senate Joint Resolution 4 calls for candidates to be listed on a single ballot in a primary, regardless of their political party. After the primary, the top two candidates would be the ones on the ballot for the general election.
The candidates’ party would still appear next to their name, including if they were running as independents.
If only one or two candidates file for the primary, both will appear on the general election ballot. The resolution, however, does allow for the General Assembly to provide a law where a percent of the vote in a two-candidate primary race is enough for a single name to be declared the winner in that election.
These changes, pending voter approval, would apply to federal congressional offices, state and county offices as well as nonpartisan offices including judicial elections. Municipal and local offices would not be affected, nor would elections for president.
The general assembly would also be charged with forming laws for who attends national nominating conventions.
The proposed amendment also calls for the general assembly to put laws in place for candidate filing and primary and general elections, resolving tie votes and other laws for the revised system under this new system.
The resolution was submitted by Senator Clarke Tucker (D-Little Rock). It has been advanced to the Senate State Agencies and Government Affairs Committee.
The state general assembly may submit up to three constitutional amendments to voters. Amendments must be approved by a simple majority of the house and senate before appearing on the ballot during an election for Arkansas senators and representatives.
The deadline for the general assembly to submit proposed amendments is Wednesday.