Arkansas Supreme Court disqualifies term limits proposal

Legal Analysis

The Arkansas Supreme Court on Friday ordered election officials to not count votes cast for a ballot measure that would have imposed the strictest term limits in the country on state legislators.

In a 4-3 ruling disqualifying the proposed initiative, the court said that thousands of signatures submitted by supporters were invalid and should not have been counted. The court did not rule on part of the lawsuit challenging the wording of the proposed amendment.

The court agreed with a special judge it had appointed to review the petitions who said thousands of signatures should be tossed out for not complying with requirements for paid signature-gatherers.

"Not only did Issue 3's supporters fail to properly collect the signatures required by law, but the measure would have stuck Arkansans with the most restrictive term limits in our country - a step in the wrong direction," Randy Zook, president of the state Chamber of Commerce and the head of the campaign against the measure, said.

An attorney for Term Limits Arkansas, the group backing the measure, said the court relied on "hyper technical paperwork violations" to invalidate the signatures.

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