Early voting begins Monday. We urge you to vote in this important election. Voting is not only your right and privilege, as a US citizen, it is your duty.

In addition to local, state and national candidates, there are three proposed amendments to the state constitution on the ballot. Issue 3 which was referred to the people by the Arkansas General Assembly contains certain elements which negatively impact the people’s right to know. Its purpose is to change Arkansas’ citizen initiation process, change votes required for legislative proposals and to change requirements for publication of those proposals.

One of our duties as your local newspaper is to be a source of local information and to help ensure transparency and accountability in government. If adopted, Issue 3 would eliminate a requirement currently in the Arkansas Constitution that the full test of ballot measures be published six times in Arkansas newspapers. The proposed amendment gives the General Assembly the authority to change the publication requirement as it sees fit. What this means is the lawmakers could reduce public notices to title only, they could eliminate publication altogether or they could place the notices on some obscure website.

Issue number 3 is bad for transparency, bad for accountability, bad for voters and bad for Arkansas. Local readers have relied on this newspaper to learn about what are often lengthy and complex constitutional issues. Our public notices are featured up front and are easily accessible to our readers and voters. This is a permanent archive and issues can be researched and studied.

Harrison Daily Times is published in print and online. However, our local demographic shows older readers prefer print. If public notices were online only, many of us would have no access at all due to lack of internet availability. Voters deserve a local written resource for transparency, availability and accessibility to these public notices. That written resource is your local independent daily newspaper.

It is your right to know what is happening in Arkansas government. Vote no on Issue 3.

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