FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, August 10, 2020
Contact: Stephanie Matthews
Open Primaries Arkansas applauds Special Master report calling for measure to be on Nov. 3 ballot
Report finds Secretary of State “erroneously culled 586 signatures”
Open Primaries Arkansas, the proposal to open up primaries to all voters regardless of party and ensure that winning candidates earn support from a majority of voters, today urged the Arkansas Supreme Court to accept today’s report of Special Master John Fogleman and put the measure before voters in November.
“Today’s report is another step toward giving the people of Arkansas the chance to vote on this important issue,” said Stephanie Matthews, campaign manager of Open Primaries Arkansas. “We respectfully call on the Supreme Court to adopt the Special Master’s report and place the measure before voters on Nov. 3. The people of Arkansas are watching. They want to decide on this important issue.”
The Special Master report, prepared by retired Circuit Judge John Fogleman to aggregate the facts of the lawsuits, noted that, “the Secretary of State erroneously culled 586 signatures on the Open Primaries Petition.”
“Arkansans want to see elected leaders work together to get things done,” said State Rep. Dan Douglas, R-Bentonville, chairman of Open Primaries Arkansas. “I know from experience how hard that is when our system is designed to reward candidates from the political extremes. Open primaries will make it easier for Arkansas voters to elect the candidates that best represent their interests.”
The Open Primaries Arkansas proposal would create an open primary election system where primary voters could choose candidates for United States Congress, Arkansas General Assembly, and state constitutional officers from both parties. Voters could vote for any candidate regardless of whether they identify as Republican, Democrat or have no party affiliation. The top four vote-getters will move on to the general election, where voters will select their top choice and then have the option to rank the other candidates in order of preference, ensuring the candidate with majority support is the definitive winner. This instant runoff eliminates the need for unnecessary runoff elections, saving Arkansas taxpayers millions of dollars.
The constitutional amendment is supported by a coalition of Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and independents who want to ensure Arkansas voters have more freedom to choose the candidates that best represent them—not just those provided by party bosses through the current primary process.
The proposed amendment would take effect in 2022. To learn more about Open Primaries Arkansas and how to get involved, visit www.openprimariesarkansas.org.