After altering her ballot title, casino supporter Nancy Todd says she expects to turn in more than 100,000 signatures in her effort to submit a casino proposal to Arkansas voters.
The proposal, led by professional poker player Nancy Todd, would allow casinos in Crittenden, Franklin, Miller and Pulaski counties. On Monday, Todd altered her ballot title to include language that would permit existing electronic games of skill operations at Oaklawn and Southland to not be affected by her measure.
Nearly a month ago, Todd turned in more than 80,000 petition signatures, but had 56,000 invalidated — a 71% failure rate. The effort needs 78,333 to qualify for the November ballot and it received a 30-day extension to collect more signatures.
Todd’s extra signatures are due on Wednesday.
Nathan Vandiver with our content partner, KUAR-FM 89 News, reports that Todd says she’ll clear the signature hurdle.
“We’ll be well over 100,000, and we’ve had the luxury of a little more time this round to be able to double check everybody’s registration which is something we suffered from in the short time frame we had the first run,” she said.
“So, we feel good about it. You know, we fully expect that the people of Arkansas will have a chance to vote on this issue on November 6 which has been my goal from the day I started in January,” Todd said.
Expect an expensive battle on this issue with a lot of twists in the road as this initiative works its way through the referendum process.
Todd is likely to pour a million dollars or more into a campaign for passage of the measure. A group opposing the effort, Stop Casinos Now, which has received funds from the parent company of Southland and its casino operation, Delaware North, will spend more than a million dollars to defeat the proposal.
This week, Secretary of State Mark Martin is expected to rule on the accuracy of Todd’s ballot title language alteration. Part of the decision Martin must weigh is whether or not the signatures collected by Todd are valid and should be counted because the petitions did not include the new ballot title language excluding Oaklawn and Southland.
If he denies it, expect Todd to take the determination to court. If Martin approves it, expect the opposition group to challenge the decision through the state’s court system.
In late July, a Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll showed only 28% support for the measure, while 66% of likely Arkansas voters said they were opposed to it.