FACT CHECK: Is Arkansas Using Hand-Marked Paper Ballots In Future Elections?

Christine Sellers | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on X, the social media platform previously called Twitter, purports Arkansas will use hand-marked paper ballots for all future elections.

Verdict: False

A spokesperson for the Arkansas Secretary of State’s Office denied the claim’s validity in an email to Check Your Fact.

Fact Check:

Election integrity groups, including the Coalition for Good Governance, recently renewed a call for paper ballots to be used in Georgia’s elections, according to the Georgia Recorder. Businessman and 2024 hopeful Vivek Ramaswamy also called for single-day, paper ballot elections at a campaign event in Newtown, Iowa, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reported.

“BREAKING: Arkansas will use hand-marked paper ballots in all future elections. Do you support this?” the X post, which includes a photo of Arkansas Republican Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders, purports. The post does not provide a source to support its claim.

The claim is false. Chris Powell, press secretary for Arkansas Secretary of State John Thurston, denied the claim’s validity in an email to Check Your Fact.

“The information in that post on X is false and misleading information. No such decision has been made,” Powell said.

Republican Arkansas State Sen. Kim Hammer, who sponsored Senate Bill 250, now Act 350, also said the claim was incorrect in an email to Check Your Fact.

“As of this moment only one of the seventy five counties in Arkansas have decided to go to an all paper ballot system. That county is Searcy County,” Hammer said. She also mentioned Cleburne County had voted to adopt an all paper ballot system but later reversed their decision. Hammer said Act 350 is in law as of Aug. 1.

The bill states that if a county chooses to use paper ballots for its elections, they “must be compatible with the electronic vote tabulation machines selected by the Secretary of State.” The county is also responsible for the cost of the paper ballots and any equipment required for their printing and tabulating, according to the bill’s text. (RELATED: Viral Post Makes Misleading Claims About Brian Kemp, His Debt And Dominion)

The bill passed the Arkansas House and Senate back in March and was delivered to the Governor on March 16, becoming Act 350 March 24, according to the state legislature.

Similarly, the Searcy County Quorum Court approved a resolution to move from voting machines to paper ballots in a 6-2 vote in August, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported. The resolution is not final, as the Quorum Court has to approve an ordinance to finalize the move to paper ballots, the outlet indicated. The Quorum Court meets again this month.

Arkansas’s Cleburne County also considered making the move to paper ballots with the Quorum Court passing a binding resolution that hand-marked paper ballots would be used in future elections and would be hand-counted in January, according to Magnolia Banner-News. The county has reportedly since rescinded the decision, The Associated Press stated.

Check Your Fact has also contacted the Arkansas Voter Integrity Initiative for comment. This piece will be updated accordingly if one is received.

Christine Sellers

Fact Check Reporter