Ark. AG rejects proposed union secret ballot amendment

Chris Rizo May 15, 2009, 9:51am

Dustin McDaniel (D)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - The Arkansas attorney general on Thursday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment that would require union elections be conducted by secret ballot.

In a formal legal opinion, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said the proposed measure was too ambiguous to withstand legal challenge.

The measure would require secret ballot elections in public office elections and for so-called formal authorizations for employee representation.

In his opinion, McDaniel, a Democrat, said the proposed popular name -- An Amendment Concerning the Right to Vote by Secret Ballot -- and the ballot title are unclear on the measure's effect on current state law.

"All elections by the people shall be by ballot or by voting machines which insure the secrecy of individual votes," McDaniel's opinion said. "The fundamental right of individuals to vote by secret ballot is thus already enshrined in the constitution, raising the question of how, if at all § 1 of your proposed measure would change existing law."

The ballot measure is being sought by Save our Secret Ballot in Arkansas, chaired by state Sen. Gilbert Baker, R-Conway. He is reportedly considering a run for the U.S. Senate in 2010, challenging U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.

Lincoln has drawn criticism for her support of the proposed Employee Free Choice Act pending before congressional lawmakers.

From Legal Newsline: Reach staff reporter Chris Rizo at

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