LITTLE ROCK — Secretary of State Mark Martin on Tuesday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to have a measure on statewide alcohol sales stricken from the November ballot.

LITTLE ROCK — Secretary of State Mark Martin on Tuesday asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to have a measure on statewide alcohol sales stricken from the November ballot.


Martin filed a response to a lawsuit filed last week by the group Citizens for Local Rights, which opposes a proposed constitutional amendment, certified by Martin for the ballot, that would make all 75 Arkansas counties wet. The lawsuit alleges that supporters of the measure missed a deadline to submit signatures and that the ballot language does not adequately explain the proposal to voters.


In his filing Tuesday, Martin said signatures in support of the measure were properly submitted to his office on July 7. That was the first day that the secretary of state’s office was open following the July 4 holiday and the July 5-6 weekend.


Citizens for Local Rights has argued that Amendment 7 to the Arkansas Constitution requires that initiative petitions be submitted to the secretary of state at least two months before an election, which in this case will be Nov. 4.


Martin argued Tuesday in his response that submitting the signatures on July 7 was in keeping with language in Amendment 51 to the state constitution concerning election deadlines, as well as "the secretary of state’s long-standing interpretation of the Arkansas Constitution concerning deadlines for filing initiative petitions."


Martin also argued that the ballot language was approved by the attorney general and that the attorney general’s decisions are entitled to a presumption of constitutionality. He further argued that as secretary of state he is entitled to immunity and that it is too late to strike the measure from the ballot because absentee ballots for the general election are already being printed.


Also Tuesday, Martin announced that his office had completed the signature-verification process for the alcohol measure and for a proposed initiated act, also certified for the ballot, which would raise the state minimum wage gradually from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 an hour by 2017.


Martin previously said his office had verified that supporters of the two measures submitted more than enough valid signatures of registered Arkansas voters to secure spots on the ballot. He said in a news release Tuesday that his office validated 91,831 signatures for the alcohol measure, which needed 78,133, and 89,790 signatures for the minimum-wage proposal, which needed 62,507.