Arkansas Changes Special Election Timing Law | Regional news


A new Arkansas law sets four special election dates, meaning voters can better know when they can see a local vote metric on their ballot.

Arkansas lawmakers passed Bill 610 in the first general session of 2021. The new law establishes four specific dates during the year when special elections can be held.

Cities and counties wishing to hold special elections will have to choose one of these dates, unless their governing body declares an emergency.

In a presidential election year, special elections on local ballot matters must take place on the second Tuesday of March, May, August or November. In non-presidential election years, special elections are set for the second Tuesday in February, May, August or November.

The law also established that these special elections must be held at least 70 days after the city or county passes an ordinance calling for an election. Previously, communities had to wait at least 60 days if their issue was considered at the same time as a primary or general election.

Law 610 gives local lawmakers the ability to call special elections in a different month in an emergency. The new law also allows a voter to challenge the declaration of emergency in court.


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