Southern Progress Fund will defeat Issue 3 and defend direct democracy in Arkansas. We will fight legislative Republicans’ effort to gut Arkansas’ system of direct democracy on behalf of their wealthy campaign donors.
What is direct democracy? Direct democracy is a system that empowers the people to directly participate and decide on policy initiatives through citizen-led ballot initiatives - as opposed to state legislatures controlling the process. It's also known as pure democracy and, well, Republicans in the Arkansas legislature are trying to dismantle it, stifle the will of the people, and run roughshod over the spirit of the Arkansas state motto - ‘the people rule’. They’ve put a measure on the November 2020 ballot - Issue 3 - that places onerous restrictions on signature gathering and created other hurdles for citizens to put measures on the ballot that will have the net impact of ending direct democracy in the state.
Why are Republicans doing this? Because lobbyists and corporate interest rule the roost in the Arkansas state capitol and politicians are set on doing their bidding and keeping those campaign dollars rolling in. The people be damned.
Why is defending direct democracy important? Because politicians don’t always get it right. And oftentimes they vote in direct defiance of the will of the people. Take for example 2014 when every Republican in the state was opposed to any increase in the minimum wage, yet an overwhelming majority of Arkansans (75%) supported it. That year, even as then Sen. Mark Pryor lost his bid for re-election, Arkansas passed a minimum wage increase through direct democracy.
If Republicans are successful in blocking the citizens of Arkansas from putting initiatives on the ballot for a vote by the people, Arkansas will continue to be impacted by bad legislation that is passed by politicians that are influenced by lobbyists and big donors.
Paid for by the Committee to Defend Direct Democracy and authorized by Southern Progress Fund