New poll shows voters eager to cast ballots on pro-democracy proposals backed by League of Women Voters

For immediate release, August 11, 2020

For more information contact
Bonnie Miller,
League of Women Voters of Arkansas

FAYETTEVILLE – Polling commissioned by the League of Women Voters of Washington County shows that voters overwhelmingly support their right to propose and vote on state constitutional amendments and particularly want to vote on two important pro-democracy ballot issues that are before the Arkansas Supreme Court.

The poll asked voters if they think the people of Arkansas should be allowed to vote on measures that would replace the current Congressional and legislative redistricting process, done by politicians behind closed doors, with an independent citizens redistricting commission, and provide for an open primary system that would allow the top four candidates, regardless of party, to move forward to the general election.

89 percent of voters said yes, they wanted the right to vote on the two issues. Only 3 percent said no, and 8 percent said they don’t know.

The poll also found that nearly three out of four voters polled valued the ability to change the state Constitution through citizen-led initiatives as provided in Article 5, Section 1.

“Arkansans are ready and eager to vote on these important measures that would reduce the control of politicians, party bosses, and lobbyists and increase the voice of citizens in how our government works,” said Bonnie Miller, president of the League of Women Voters of Washington County. “All of Arkansas is watching as the Supreme Court decides if the issues will be on the ballot Nov. 3.”

The new poll comes as the Supreme Court prepares to address issues considered by a special master it appointed for fact-finding over a dispute about whether signatures collected on the two proposals were valid. A key factor is whether a provision instituted by the Legislature requiring background checks, which Special Master John Fogleman said was not possible to fulfill, should stop these proposals from going to voters.

“A decision to keep these measures off the ballot would clearly be contrary to the will of the people,” Miller said. “We believe that ‘all political power is inherent in the people,’ as stated in the Arkansas Constitution. The first power reserved by the people is the initiative.”

“This is an important moment for citizen-led democracy in our state. We are confident the Supreme Court will find in favor of voters and trust them to make these important decisions about how our state government works,” said Miller.

The League of Women Voters of Arkansas commissioned the nonpartisan Mercury Analytics to ask voters about the controversy over putting the issues on the ballot. The survey of 602 Arkansas voters was conducted Aug. 4-8 and designed to be demographically representative of likely 2020 voters.

Following are results:

Article 5, Section 1 of the Arkansas Constitution provides a process by which voters may propose statewide or local legislative measures or acts and statewide amendments to the Constitution. Do you support or oppose these constitutional powers for Arkansas voters?

Support: 72%

Oppose: 5%

Don’t know: 23%

After having the redistricting and open primary proposals described, voters were asked “Regardless of whether you would vote yes or no on these ballot measures, do you think the people of Arkansas should be allowed to vote on them?”

Yes: 89%

No: 3%

Don’t know: 8%