Open Primaries Arkansas statement on Arkansas Supreme Court decision

Contact: Stephanie Matthews

LITTLE ROCK – The following statement can be attributed to Stephanie Matthews, campaign manager of Open Primaries Arkansas, on the Arkansas Supreme Court decision to remove Issue 5 from the November ballot to give voters more choices at the ballot box:

This is a dark day for our democracy, and yet another example of how extreme partisanship interferes with our inherent right as citizens to initiate change. More than 150,000 voters — Republicans Democrats and Independents — signed the petition supporting Issue 5 from Open Primaries Arkansas to take the power away from the extreme wings of both parties and to give voters more choices in November. 

We are exploring our legal options to uphold the will of the people.

The Open Primaries Arkansas proposal through Issue 5 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 all 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. 

A recent poll from the League of Women Voters of Arkansas found that 89% of Arkansas voters want an opportunity to vote on this proposed reform to open primaries and give voters more choices at the ballot box.