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story.lead_photo.caption Secretary of State John Thurston is shown in this photo.

Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston said Tuesday that supporters of proposed constitutional amendments that would change the method of redrawing congressional and legislative district boundaries, create open primaries and authorize 16 more casinos in Arkansas have submitted insufficient petitions to qualify for the Nov. 3 general election ballot.

Thurston said in a letter to attorney David Couch representing the Arkansas Voters First committee that it has been determined that acquiring a criminal background check is not the same as passing a criminal background check. Because the committee didn’t comply with Arkansas Code Annotated 7-9- 601 (b) (3), none of the signatures solicited by paid canvassers may be counted for any purpose for the proposed constitutional amendment to change the method for redrawing congressional and legislative districts, he said.

Thurston made similar statements in a letter to Couch regarding the petitions for the proposed constitutional amendment to create open primaries.

Thurston said in a letter to Todd Wooten representing the Arkansas Wins in 2020 committee that since the committee didn’t comply with Arkansas Code Annotated 7-9-601 (b) (3) by certifying that its paid canvassers had passed a criminal background check when submitting its list of paid canvassers, none of the signatures solicited by the paid canvassers may be counted for any purpose for the proposed constitutional amendment that would authorize 16 more casinos in Arkansas.

The state currently has three casinos, and hasn’t yet issued a license for a fourth casino, in Pope County.

The committees said they submitted more signatures than required to the secretary of state’s office last week in their efforts to qualify their proposals for the general election ballot.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette is seeking comment from the committees about the Republican secretary of state’s rulings.

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