Lt. Gov. Bill Halter
announced today that his paid signature gatherers (and a few volunteers) had rounded up 135,000 on petitions for the state lottery amendment.
That should be plenty to qualify it for the ballot after a review by the secretary of state.
Little Rock – Standing on the steps of the state Capitol amid 75 boxes representing each of Arkansas’s counties, Lieutenant Governor Bill Halter today announced that his scholarship lottery ballot initiative committee had collected what could be a state record of 135,000-plus signatures of Arkansans living in every county throughout the state.
“The signatures behind me represent Arkansans who believe we must do more to provide new hope and opportunity for the people of our own state,” remarked Halter. “Tens of thousands of Arkansans are helping fund the education of students in other states when they drive across state lines each day to play another state’s lottery. It makes sense that our own scholarship lottery will keep Arkansas money here at home and helping Arkansans.”
No past initiative dating back to 1996 had collected as many signatures, according to the Secretary of State’s Office, and accurate counts of signatures submitted by past ballot campaigns before 1996 are not available. Only 77,468 signatures with threshold requirements to be met in a minimum 15 counties are required to qualify the scholarship lottery ballot measure for November’s general election. Last month, Halter announced the scholarship lottery effort had already reached the minimum signature reqirement and would strive to attain 100,000 total signatures. Halter and his Hope for Arkansas scholarship lottery committee will submit over 135,000 signatures with thresholds met for 30 counties later today.
“Each year $100 million in new college scholarships will help many working families put a son or daughter through college,” said Halter. “The scholarship lottery offers hope to an adult who otherwise may have been unable to afford the re-training required to secure a better-paying high-skilled job. And the scholarship lottery will keep more Arkansans here at home attending state colleges and universities. Additionally, Arkansas graduates could launch their careers with lower student debt.”
“More than 135,000 Arkansans agree that its time to take bold action to expand hope and opportunity for more Arkansans,” concluded Halter.