The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arkansas, on behalf of For AR Kids, filed a complaint against the Town of Rose Bud, Arkansas, and Mayor Shawn Gorham in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas. The lawsuit challenges recently enacted restrictions on canvassers at the town’s Summerfest event, arguing that these restrictions violate the First Amendment rights of political petitioners.

For AR Kids, a citizen-led ballot question committee advocating to qualify their proposed constitutional amendment, the “Educational Rights Amendment of 2023,” for Arkansas’s Nov. 2024 ballot, planned to collect petition signatures at Summerfest from June 20-22. However, on June 17, the Town of Rose Bud passed an ordinance that severely limits the ability of ballot question committees to collect signatures at town-sponsored events. 

The ordinance mandates that these committees must rent a booth on event grounds and restricts canvassing activities to within the confines of that booth, with the booth location being at the Town’s discretion. Additionally, canvassers are prohibited from soliciting signatures on public property outside the festival grounds.

The complaint filed by the ACLU seeks injunctive and declaratory relief to prevent the Town from enforcing the ordinance during Summerfest. It argues that the restrictions unfairly target those who seek to advocate for political change through the petition process, while allowing others to freely express opposing views. The lawsuit requests that the Court issue an immediate temporary restraining order to ensure that For AR Kids can exercise its constitutional rights at Summerfest.


John C. Williams, ACLU Of Arkansas

Date filed

June 20, 2024


United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas



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