LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (NEWSnet/AP) — Arkansas election officials on Wednesday rejected petitions submitted for an abortion-rights measure that organizers hoped to have on the election ballot this fall.

The secretary of state’s office rejected the petitions submitted on Friday by supporters of the proposal, saying the group didn’t submit statements required regarding paid signature gatherers.

Organizers on Friday submitted more than 101,000 signatures. They needed at least 90,704 signatures from registered voters and a minimum number from 50 counties.

In his letter to organizers, Secretary of State John Thurston said that even if his office accepted the signatures it determined came from volunteers the total would amount to 87,382, below the required amount.

Thurston’s letter cited an Arkansas law requiring campaigns to submit statements identifying paid canvassers by name and indicating that each paid canvasser was explained the rules on gathering signatures.

Arkansans for Limited Government, the group behind the proposed constitutional amendment, said it had provided documentation and had been in contact with the secretary of state’s office throughout the process to ensure it was following all rules and regulations.

“We will fight this ridiculous disqualification attempt with everything we have,” the group said in a statement Wednesday night.

The measure would have barred laws banning abortion in the first 20 weeks of gestation and allowed the procedure later in pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, threats to the woman’s health or life, or if the fetus would be unlikely to survive birth.

Arkansas’ current law allows abortion only to protect the mother’s life in a medical emergency.

The U.S. Supreme Court removed the nationwide right to abortion with a 2022 ruling, which sparked a national push to have voters decide the matter state by state.

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