The filing period for the special Democratic Primary election for Arkansas House of Representatives District 36 officially opened at noon Monday. The filing period closes at noon Friday.

Anyone wishing to file as a Democrat may do so during the filing period at the William A. Gwatney Democratic Headquarters, at 1300 W Capitol Avenue, Little Rock, AR 72201.

The seat has been vacated since May 16, when House Minority Leader Charles Blake resigned to become Chief of Staff for Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr.

Because Rep. Charles Blake resigned his seat during his term, the filing fee has been reduced from $3,000 to $1,500.

If any person wishes to run, but cannot pay the filing fee due to financial hardship, they are free to collect signatures under Democratic Party of Arkansas Rules, section 9.05 (a).

The rules state that a candidate must obtain an amount of signatures that equal 8% of the total number of votes cast in the last Democratic Primary for that District.

For District 36, that number is 216. Signatures collected must be made by a person who voted in the last Democratic Preferential Primary for District 36, or has marked Democrat as his or her party preference on his or her voter registration form and is eligible to vote in District 36. Anyone wishing to collect signatures must sign an affidavit which swears financial hardship.

This affidavit is provided by the Party, and may be signed at anytime during regular office hours, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If anyone wishes to make a challenge against a candidate’s claim of financial hardship, they must do within five (5) days of that candidate’s filing. After the challenge is filed, the Executive Committee of the Democratic Party of Arkansas must meet within ten (10) days to rule on the challenge.

Any questions about the filing period or the special election can be answered by calling the Democratic Party of Arkansas Headquarters at 501-374-236.