Wednesday, November 05, 2008

TOP STORY > >All ballot initiatives pass

Arkansas voters on Tuesday approved all the ballot initiatives, including Act 1, which would prevent unmarried couples from adopting children or serve as their custodial parents.

Voters have also approved a measure creating a statewide lottery for Arkansas, overturning a ban set in the state’s constitution since 1874.

Amendment 2 was also passed, requiring the legislature to meet in regular session every year and limit appropriations every year.

Voters also approved Amendment 1, which cleans up some obsolete language in the state constitution dealing with elections.

Sen. John McCain easily carried Arkansas in his losing bid for the presidency.

Cong. Vic Snyder was easily re-elected to a seventh term.

About two-thirds of voters supported the lottery proposal championed by Lt. Governor Bill Halter, which will fund college scholarships through ticket sales. About 36 percent voted against the measure.

Halter has said a lottery would raise $100 million annually and likely would have scratch-off games and lottery drawings like other states. The Legislature will decide what types of games will be offered during its 2009 session.

Those opposing the lottery measure warned it would subsidize scholarships on the backs of the state’s poor.
Arkansas is one of only eight states in the nation without a lottery.

Voters also approved a measure Tuesday night that would allow up to $300 million in bonds to be issued for water projects around the state.

The bond package, referred to voters by lawmakers, would offer low-interest loans and grants through the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission for local governments building sewer and water projects.

The proposal would limit the total amount to be issued during any two-year budget cycle to $60 million, unless the Legislature authorized more.

The adoption and foster ban, aimed primarily at keeping gays from becoming foster or adoptive parents, received support from 56.5-percent of voters in unofficial returns.

About two-thirds of voters supported the lottery measure championed by Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, which will fund college scholarships through ticket sales.

The foster measure grew out of a 2006 Arkansas Supreme Court decision that struck down a state policy banning gay foster parents.

McCain picked up more than six out of 10 votes among the majority white voting populace, was favored slightly among female voters who also vote in greater numbers than males, and won support among independents. A majority of Arkansas voters, considering themselves white evangelical/born-again Christians, favored McCain.

Besides the conservative vote, McCain picked up some support among moderates, who slightly favored Democrat Barack Obama, and even secured votes from among the liberal minority who, as a whole, chose Obama over McCain.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.