Casino ballot title rejected – for now

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 106 views 

Arkansas Secretary of State Mark Martin (R) rejected a substitute ballot title for a casino gambling proposal and the measure’s main proponent vowed a court challenge.

Martin ruled that Nancy Todd, whose Nancy Todd Poker Palace proposal would allow casino operations in four Arkansas counties, did not clarify her ballot title sufficiently to help voters understand that passage of her amendment could affect existing electronic games of skill operations at Oaklawn and Southland racetracks.

“The measure is legally insufficient for inclusion on the ballot for the November 6, 2012 general election,” Martin said in a press release.

Todd did submit more than 100,000 additional signatures to potentially qualify her measure for the ballot on Wednesday, but until a court ruling is declared the signatures will not be counted and her proposal will not appear on the ballot this November.

A court determination could change that.

“I don’t think it’s accurate and I don’t think it’s fair, but I will pursue my legal option,” Todd told reporters on Wednesday. She said she planned to take the challenge to the Arkansas Supreme Court for a ruling.

The case could grow even more complicated as a variety of legal challenges could dictate the proposed constitutional amendment’s fate.

The court could agree with Martin’s decision and rule her ballot title is insufficient, which would effectively kill the effort.

However if it is deemed sufficient, Todd’s proposal could face legal challenges that her signatures collected were on petitions with the old ballot title on them, giving license to an argument that they were not collected with proper representation.

Two groups have emerged to oppose Todd’s measure and a second casino amendment led by Texas businessman Michael Wasserman. Wasserman’s proposal would allow casinos in 7 Arkansas counties.

The opposition groups — Stop Casinos Now! and the Arkansas Racing Alliance — have financial support from Southland’s parent company, Delaware North. They have been working to block the proposals from appearing on the November ballot.