Arkansas House votes against nonpartisan election bill that would remove party labels from prosecuting attorneys | Democracy, elections, and voting at DC
By Leah Dearborn
A bill to remove party affiliations from prosecuting attorney positions was shot down on Monday in the Arkansas House of Representatives.
The House voted 50-40 to reject the bipartisan measure that would make the 28 elected prosecuting attorneys in the state nonpartisan positions. The candidates would no longer be listed on the ballot as Democrats or Republicans and wouldn’t have to run in primary elections.
The proposal called for the state to collect the filing fees for prosecutor candidates, with the first $100,000 collected going toward a fund for state trial court assistants. Under the current system, those filing fees typically go to the respective state party.
The bill divided both liberals and conservatives, with its supporters claiming that partisan politics have no place in a courtroom. Those who sided against nonpartisan elections argued that the removal of party labels only creates an illusion of neutrality; an attorney’s open identification with a party provides voters a level of transparency.