Return to News Jun 06, 2024

Voting Advocates Challenge New Wet Signature Rule in Arkansas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On June 5, Get Loud Arkansas (GLA),, and two Arkansas voters filed a federal lawsuit in the Western District of Arkansas challenging the state’s new “wet signature rule,” which requires wet ink signatures on voter registration forms and directs counties to reject registration forms with electronic signatures. The plaintiffs are represented by Elias Law Group and Shults Law Firm.

You can read the full complaint here.

The wet signature rule is a direct response to GLA’s success in registering new voters—particularly young and minority Arkansans. In early 2024, GLA launched an online tool on its website that allows prospective voters to fill out a registration application online and sign the application with an electronic signature. The voters then authorized GLA to print and submit the completed application to county clerks. On at least three separate occasions, the Secretary of State’s office assured GLA that its process was permissible, and the Attorney General also confirmed that electronic signatures are valid under Arkansas law. But after media outlets reported that hundreds of voters successfully registered with GLA’s assistance in just a few short months, the Secretary abruptly reversed course and advised county officials to reject applications with electronic signatures., a national voter registration platform, has helped register tens of thousands of Arkansas voters over the past several years through user-friendly online tools. These tools are especially important for underserved communities who often do not have reliable access to printers and therefore cannot provide a wet signature. Actions like Arkansas’ wet signature requirement are a direct attack on the online voter registration tools that has pioneered.

“Get Loud Arkansas’s work is rooted in our unwavering, audacious commitment that every voice in every corner of our state will be heard at the ballot box. We will face down any act of suppression that creates roadblocks to the fundamental right to vote. Generational disenfranchisement must be relegated to the past, where it belongs,” said GLA Executive Director and former state Senator Joyce Elliott.

“Voter suppression advocates in Arkansas and all across the country are shamefully trying to rig the rules of the game against their own voters. But they should know better than to think they can bully voters without facing any resistance. This wet signature mandate is a direct assault on the convenient, secure, and reliable online voter registration tools that so many voters of all backgrounds rely upon. This isn’t just an isolated issue – it’s a problem for everyone as a handful of individuals seek to consolidate power instead of allowing voters to have a voice. We must stand together to protect our democratic processes and ensure every voter can participate without undue barriers,” said Andrea Hailey, CEO of

“Arkansas has the lowest voter registration rate in the country at only 62 percent, with young and Black voters registered at even lower rates. And its election officials continue to reject new applicants, including Plaintiffs Nikki Pastor and Blake Loper, simply because they signed their form with the ‘wrong’ instrument—a meaningless technicality that creates unlawful barriers to the franchise and obstructs the efforts of civic organizations like Plaintiffs GLA and that use innovative technology to promote civic engagement. Simply put, Arkansas has erected an arbitrary restriction that is irrelevant in determining voter qualifications but has denied eligible citizens the right to vote,” the complaint argues.

“Nothing in Arkansas law prohibits the use of online tools to complete and sign registration applications. In fact, both the Arkansas Attorney General and Secretary of State confirmed as much multiple times in recent months. Yet, instead of applauding organizations like GLA and for their admirable commitment to increasing civic engagement, the State Board of Election Commissioners abruptly issued an emergency rule shutting down online tools that provide an easily accessible means for all eligible Arkansans to register to vote. Making matters worse, election officials have not clarified whether registered voters who previously used an electronic signature will have their registrations canceled. We are proud to represent GLA,, Nikki Pastor, and Blake Loper in this critical challenge to Arkansas’s arbitrary new wet signature rule,” said Elias Law Group partner Uzoma Nkwonta.