Constitutional amendment proposed to mandate paper ballots in all Arkansas elections

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – One Arkansas organization has proposed a constitutional amendment aimed at removing voting machines from the equation.

Ballot committee Restore Election Integrity Arkansas has proposed a state constitutional amendment to switch all elections in Arkansas to paper ballots.

Chief of Restore Election Integrity Arkansas, Conrad Reynolds said voters don’t know if their vote is actually being counted because “computers can be hacked” and can’t be trusted.

“I want to make sure that everybody can have faith in our election and right now most people don’t,” Reynolds said.

He said he feels most people lack faith because the machines used on the voting day do not read the names on the ballots, instead, they read a barcode.

In response to people who say they trust a machine to count their vote versus a person, Reynolds said, “If you don’t know who is programming it, you don’t think a machine can be manipulated to make a mistake?”

KARK 4 News reached out to the Secretary of State’s office who shared a statement.

 “Secretary John Thurston believes that the modern, state-of-the-art voting machines and tabulators we use in Arkansas are accurate and secure,” the statement read.

Searcy County is the only county in the state where a vote will be counted by hand and will use paper ballots in the primary election.

In January of this year, the Cleburne County Quorum Court voted in favor of the paper. The county was the first county to do so, but they have since reversed that decision.

Reynolds said his mission isn’t a Republican or Democratic party issue, “it’s an American issue.”

“When you want more transparency so that everybody knows that their vote was counted, how does that benefit one party or the other?” he said. “It benefits the American people.”

Attorney General Tim Griffin has received the proposed amendment and has until Nov. 27 to approve or reject it.

If approved, Restore Election Integrity Arkansas will then need to get nearly 92,000 signatures from voters in 50 counties to the Secretary of States Office by July 5 for the proposal to make it to the 2024 general election.

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