Appeals court stays ruling easing Arkansas petition rules

June 15, 2020 GMT

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal appeals court on Monday halted a judge’s decision blocking an Arkansas requirement for signatures on initiative petitions to be witnessed in person.

The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stayed last month’s ruling preventing the state from enforcing the witness requirement. The ruling by U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes last month also blocked a requirement that canvassers sign an affidavit in the presence of a notary.

The court on Monday stayed Holmes’ ruling while it considers the state’s appeal, and set a timeline for briefs to be filed in the case.


The signature rules were halted in response to a lawsuit filed by Arkansas Voters First, which is trying to get a redistricting measure on the ballot. The group sued the state in April and said the coronavirus pandemic has made it nearly impossible to collect the 89,151 signatures from registered voters needed to qualify for the November election.