Arkansas minimum wage increase qualifies for ballot vote

A proposal to increase Arkansas's minimum wage has qualified to be on the ballot this fall, potentially boosting Democrats who hope the issue can help motivate their base in the Razorback State. 

The proposal to raise the state's minimum wage from $6.25 an hour to $8.50 by 2017 has enough signatures to qualify for a vote, Arkansas's secretary of State announced, which could be a boon for Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), former Rep. Mike Ross's (D-Ark.) gubernatorial bid and down-ballot Democrats.

Pryor supports the increase while opposing a national increase, and has criticized Rep. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) for his opposition to a state increase.

The vulnerable senator lauded the news.

"Here in Arkansas, we raise our kids to know the value of a hard day’s work, and that's why it’s time we give Arkansas families the pay raise they deserve," Pryor said in a statement. "It's not right that Arkansans work two or three jobs just to make ends meet, and I hope that Congressman Cotton will finally join me in supporting this common sense proposal to put more money in the pockets of hardworking families across Arkansas."

Democrats hope the effort to raise the minimum wage can turn out low-propensity voters in Arkansas, as well as in other critical Senate battlegrounds like Alaska.

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