Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Beebe's Signature Makes It Official: Arkansas Back to May

Ballot Access News is reporting that Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe has signed HB 1021 (Act 26) into law, moving the state's presidential primary back to May from February. FHQ has been unable to independently verify this information. The folks in Little Rock seem to have been more tied up in former-President Clinton's address to the legislature today than other matters. Neither the governor's web site nor the legislature's web site (see bill link above) have anything up about the legislation being signed into law. When that information is more widely dispersed I'll post another link(s).

However, I did want to look through the bill to make sure FHQ had the correct date for an updated version of the 2012 Presidential Primary Calendar. The outcome? Arkansas has some interesting language to its election law. The only mention of "Tuesday" in the legislation, or for that matter the Arkansas Codes, is in reference to the primary (presidential and state/local) being on the second Tuesday of any month or the second Tuesday in June.


It turns out that when the statutes call reference a "General Primary Election" they mean a runoff. What's call the "Preference Primary" -- the actual primary -- is held three weeks prior to that in late May. [Thanks to The Green Papers for that clarification, here.] In 2012, the second Tuesday in June is June 12. The Arkansas primary would then take place on May 22, three weeks ahead of that.

This, of course, assumes that Arkansas doesn't pull a New Jersey circa 2008 and move twice before 2012. That bill to move the primary to August (SB235) is still active. But the August language seems to have been striken from the bill with the second amendment added on Wednesday (February 18). That leaves a bill that looks an awful lot like the one signed by the governor today.

Recent Posts:
North Carolina Bill to Move 2012 Primary to February

1988 Presidential Primary Calendar

1984 Presidential Primary Calendar

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