Voters reject Issue 1; Issue 3 still too close to call

By: - November 9, 2022 12:06 am

Arkansas voters have rejected a constitutional amendment that would have allowed the General Assembly to call itself into special session and set the agenda. Under current law, only the governor has that authority.

The Associated Press called the race at 11:20 p.m.

Unofficial returns with 79% of votes counted were:

Against 467,154

For 298,559

Meanwhile, Issue 3 remains a toss up. If approved, the constitutional amendment would prohibit state and local governments from burdening a person’s ability to practice their religion unless there’s a compelling reason to do so. If there is a reason, officials must act in the least restrictive manner.

In a statement, Family Council Action Committee executive director Jerry Cox said the results of the Arkansas Religious Freedom Amendment vote is too close to call but his organization, which supports Issue 3, will make a statement on the final results as soon as possible.

Issue 3 is important because it pushes back against government overreach, Cox said.

“Over the years, courts have tried to reduce the free exercise of religion to nothing more than a freedom to worship at church,” he said. “Issue 3 makes it clear that you’re free to live out your faith in your everyday life.”  

About 13,450 more people have voted against Issue 3 than for it, according to the secretary of state’s office. If the measure fails, the religious freedoms currently guaranteed within the U.S. Constitution and the Arkansas Constitution will remain. If Issue 3 is approved, it will take effect Nov. 9.

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Antoinette Grajeda
Antoinette Grajeda

Antoinette Grajeda is a multimedia journalist who has reported since 2007 on a wide range of topics, including politics, health, education, immigration and the arts for NPR affiliates, print publications and digital platforms. A University of Arkansas alumna, she earned a bachelor’s degree in print journalism and a master’s degree in documentary film.