AR House Bill 1790


State: Arkansas
Signed: April 08, 2015

Effective: July 22, 2015
Chapter: Act No. 1251


House Bill 1790 prohibits and penalizes as a misdemeanor certain canvassing violations performed by Notaries in local option elections.


Amends Arkansas Code 3-8-804.

  1. With reference to a local option petition election, makes it is a Class A misdemeanor for a person acting as a Notary to knowingly (a) sign a name other than his or her own to a petition; (b) print a name, address, or birth date other than his or her own on a petition unless the signer requires assistance due to disability; (c) solicit or obtain a signature to a petition knowing that the person signing is not qualified to sign the petition; (d) pay a person any form of compensation in exchange for signing a petition as a petitioner; (e) accept or pay money or anything of value for obtaining signatures on a petition when the person acting as a canvasser, sponsor, or agent of a sponsor knows that the person acting as canvasser’s name or address is not included on the sponsor’s list filed with the county clerk; or (f) as a sponsor, files a petition part with the official charged with verifying the signatures knowing that the petition part contains 1 or more false or fraudulent signatures unless each false or fraudulent signature is clearly stricken by the sponsor before filing.

Going back to when the Prohibition ended, counties in Arkansas were permitted to prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquor within their boundaries, except in private clubs, and become what is known as a "dry" county. "Wet" counties allow the retail sale and manufacture of alcoholic beverages. Today, over 30 counties in Arkansas are "dry" with the rest either being "wet" or "damp" (some municipalities within a "wet" county are "dry").

A petition for a local option election -- to make a "wet" county "dry" -- must contain a certain number of signatures. As with any election, the signatures must be genuine. Due to the substantial number of signatures required on a petition to place the measure on a ballot, forgeries can be committed. House Bill 1790 makes it a Class A misdemeanor for a Notary (or any other person) to commit certain offenses related to collecting signatures on a local option election petition.

Read House Bill 1790.