Tomorrow is Election Day, and many interesting questions have been raised regarding some Arkansas laws - especially those specific to what one can or cannot do on Election Day.
Some laws that assumed to be long gone may still be in the law books.
Many states in the United States have certain laws pertaining to alcohol. In Arkansas students should by now know that if you want to drink from closed containers on a Sunday, you'll either have to make a run to Oklahoma or Missouri because it is illegal to sell packaged alcoholic beverages on Sunday in Arkansas. The Bible Belt, as some affectionately call it, has some strict laws about the "Day of the Lord."
One law thought to be still in effect has actually been off the books for 15 years. In Arkansas it is legal for alcohol to be sold on Election Day, a law some thought to still be enforced. The same goes for other states like Pennsylvania, Maryland, Colorado, Oklahoma and Kansas.
"There used to be a law that you could not sell alcohol on general election day," Milton Lueken, an attorney for the Alcohol Beverage Control in Little Rock, said. "I think the law came back from the old days when, I'm told, the saloons . . . would be used for polling places, so they would stop the sale of alcohol."
In 1989, Act 426 in the Arkansas Legislature repealed the law against the sale of alcohol on Election Day. Some states, including Idaho and Utah, still enforce the ban.
Lueken said that the ban on alcohol sales applies to Sundays in most parts of the state. Eureka Springs passed an ordinance allowing the sale of alcohol on Sunday, however, and there are also a few other small towns in Arkansas that have passed ordinances to bypass the state law, he said. However, there is one day that no one in the state can sell alcohol and that is on Christmas Day.
Arkansas has its own special blend of quirky laws. Many Web sites, like fun-facts.com and dumblaws.com, give a factual and fictional list of laws in Arkansas. Some of these laws could not be found to ever exist, but some are true.
In Arkansas voters only have five minutes to mark their ballot, according to the Arkansas Secretary of State Web site. If this law was actually enforced, something says that the line for voting would not be two hours long, as the wait was at some locations in Pulaski and Faulkner County during early voting this year.
One law, which has yet to be found accurate, was that it is illegal to kill "any living creature" in Fayetteville, according to fun-facts.com. Road kill would finally have some rights if this were true. The "Million Ant March" could take place on Dickson Street, stopping traffic for hours.
Another Arkansas law listed on the Grand Valley State University Web site in Allendale, Mich. stated that "a man can legally beat his wife, but not more than once a month."
Actual Arkansas laws can be found on municode.com, a Web site where ordinances are searchable by state and city. Sec. 16-45 in the Fort Smith city ordinance says that "the sounding of any horn or signal device on any automobile, motorcycle, bus, taxicab or other vehicle while not in motion except as a danger signal is unlawful."
Another interesting factual law on municode.com is that it is illegal to honk your horn or accelerate your engine at a drive-in restaurant in Fort Smith. Fort Smith isn't the only city to have a law protecting drive-in restaurants. In Little Rock, according to Sec. 18-54, "no person shall sound the horn on a vehicle at any place where cold drinks or sandwiches are served after 9 p.m."
Little Rock also has recently passed a law regarding man's best friend. The Internet Party Web site stated that the Little Rock City Council ruled that "dogs may not bark after 6 p.m."
A Little Rock law that is unlikely to be enforced prohibits walking one's cow down Main Street after 1 p.m. on Sunday. Not to be outdone, dumblaws.com stated that there is a law that "flirtation between men and women on the streets of Little Rock may result in a 30-day jail term."
Another law that many have thought to be true from when Arkansas first became a state is the law that it is illegal to mispronounce Arkansas ("Arkansaw"), according to the Grand Valley State University Web site.
Since it seems to be a race to be a race between Little Rock and Fort Smith for the most "interesting" laws, Fort Smith has yet a couple more "little known" laws.
It is illegal for "any person to operate a public dance hall on Sunday, or to operate any other place in which dancing is engaged in on Sunday," according to municode.com. Another law that may have Fort Smith plumbers in an uproar declares it unlawful for a person to show "any portion of the anal cleft or cleavage of the male or female buttocks" - yet another affirmation that crack not only kills, it is illegal.