The Issue on Issue Two

Julie Young, HTV Studio Manager

On and before Nov. 3, people all across Ark. exercised their right to elect the President of the United States. Elsewhere on the ballot was a race for State Senator between Ricky Harrington and incumbent Tom Cotton, which Tom Cotton won, and a race for US Representative of Arkansas’s Fourth Congressional District between incumbent Bruce Westerman and Democrat William Hanson, which went to Bruce Westerman. Beyond this was a list of amendments ranging in focus from making permanent a temporary sales tax to changing both the initiative process and requirements for legislative referral. 


Term limits were the subject of the second of these issues. According to the website, “A “yes” vote supports this measure to impose term limits of twelve consecutive years for state legislators with the opportunity to return after a four-year break.”


As of now, 55.3 percent of Arkansans voted for this amendment. However, not all Arkansans were aware of what they were voting for.


“I didn’t understand it,” said Henderson State University student Tessa Walthour, who likened the wording of the ballot measures to “a language I didn’t understand.”


The ballot measure “regarding term limits” made voters who hadn’t done their pre-election research, and even those who had, confused as to whether they were voting in favor of term limits or against them. The ballot measure does not impose stricter term limits on elected officials, but instead allows them to return after a four year break, something which wasn’t clear for some. 


“My mom, my friend, and I all voted yes on issue two, but if we’d understood what it meant we would have voted no,” Walthour said.


If you are in favor of term limits, you would have wanted to vote no to this issue. If you are against term limits, you would have wanted to vote yes. The confusing and ultimately misleading wording of issue 2 led Arkansans to vote differently than they maybe would have had the implications of the amendment been more clear.