A proposal to increase the term of office for Arkansas sheriffs from two years to four years will not reach the ballot after the statewide petition failed to reach the 77,468 signature mark, falling short by nearly half, according to the Arkansas Sheriffs Association.
July 7 was the last day for Arkansas voters to sign the petition but a lack of enthusiasm for the proposal means Arkansas will remain one of only two states in the U.S. to have two-year terms for sheriffs, the other being New Hampshire.
Each county had a goal to obtain 10 percent of the signatures of the voters that participated in the 2006 Arkansas governors race.
According to Bill Lomen with the Fulton County Sheriff's Department, the Fulton County petition received zero signatures, he said.
In contrast, the Izard County petition outcome was excellent, although statewide numbers underperformed.
"With the allocation of signatures required, I think Izard County was supposed to get 499 signatures. We got well over 500. I think the total was around 525," Izard County Sheriff Tate Lawrence said.
"People just didn't get out and support it," he said.
When asked if the petition would be circulated for the issue to be placed on the ballot in the next election, Lawrence said he was unsure.
Currently, a sheriff seeking to continue his county service must run for re-election every other year and Lawrence says that can take away from focusing on the task at hand.
Lawrence said, a four-year term is important because of the effort required to run for election every other year.
"Even when diligently trying not to, running every other year gets in the way," Lawrence said.
Other issues involve deputy job security and confidence. Lawrence added, the stability of the department's administration would lend to better recruitment.