State of Arkansas

Arkansas Wet Signature Challenge

Get Loud Arkansas v. Thurston

Lawsuit filed on behalf of Get Loud Arkansas (GLA), and two voters against Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston (R), the Arkansas State Board of Election Commissioners and local election officials in several counties challenging the state’s requirement for a handwritten signature on voter registration applications, also known as a “wet signature” requirement. The plaintiffs allege that the wet signature requirement was enacted after GLA developed a tool to help Arkansans register to vote electronically, leading to a significant increase in registration rates throughout the state. Throughout February 2024, GLA reached out to Thurston’s office to confirm that its tool complied with Arkansas law. Despite confirming several times that electronic signatures were valid, Thurston reversed course at the end of the month and recommended that county clerks reject voter registrations with electronic signatures. Upon Thurston’s recommendation, the State Board of Election Commissioners approved an emergency rule requiring Arkansans to submit their voter registration forms with a handwritten signature with pen and ink. The rule will remain in effect from May 4 to Sept. 1, 2024.

The plaintiffs argue that the wet signature requirement violates the Materiality Provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects voters from being denied the right to vote over insignificant details or mistakes. They ask the court to strike down the wet signature requirement and block election officials in Arkansas from enforcing it.

STATUS: The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit on June 5, 2024. Arkansas has not responded yet.

Case Documents

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