LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- CAPES held a press conference at the State Capitol Monday morning to give an update on petition signatures for the Arkansas LEARNS Act referendum.
CAPES executive director Steve Grappe said that the petition has collected around 49,000 signatures but still needs around 5,800 more. Grappe said that they are depending on cities like Little Rock, Fayetteville and Jonesboro to push the signature count.
The group, looking to repeal the newly-signed law, held a signing event on the Capitol steps Sunday. CAPES said they will need more than 55,000 signatures and at least 3% from 50 counties to get the referendum on the November 2024 ballot.
“Now I’ve got people telling me all over the state that they’re getting signatures as we speak, they’re hitting all of their neighborhoods, and then they’re going to be bringing those in,” Grappe said.
Members of CAPES are looking to get the referendum on the ballot to give voters a say on the issue. Concerns surrounding the law include the repeal of the Teacher Fair Dismissal Act and a voucher program that would use state funds to allow public school students to attend private or charter schools.
The deadline for the signature count is Monday, July 31 at 5 p.m.
Officials with CAPES said that the team is still counting signatures, petitions are still being delivered and people are still out supporting their cause. Officials said that a drive-thru signing event will be held at the Capitol Monday.
Officials with the secretary of state’s office said that CAPES must have 54,422 signatures and 75% of those signatures must be valid to qualify for a cure period. This would extend the amount of time the group has to gather more signatures to meet the criteria to put the referendum on the ballot.