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Arizona Judge rules ballot wording fair in Prop 302

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July 27, 2010

PHOENIX, Arizona: After hearing arguments for both sides on the validity and neutrality of Arizona Proposition 302's ballot wording on July 26, 2010, Judge Robert Oberbillig of Maricopa County Superior Court ruled that the measure's wording is impartial and fair. If enacted by voters, the measure would repeal the First Things First program, which is an early childhood services program, and put it's $324 million into the general fund.[1]

The current description of the measure will now be on the state pamphlet that is sent to voters before the November 2, 2010, general election. According to attorney Rhonda Barnes, her clients will not appeal the judge's decision. The suit, filed on behalf of the Arizona Early Childhood Development and Health Board, claimed that Proposition 302's description mislead voters and hid important facts to consider.[2]

Some of the facts that the board said were hidden was that the measure's description did not tell residents that voters approved the program in a ballot measure in 2006. Rhiann Allvin, executive director of the First Things First program, stated that their accusations stemmed from their "impartial analysis" of each ballot measure when their council met in June 2010.

Oberbillig has been busy in the world of ballot measures in Arizona, as the judge, in another ballot measure lawsuit, struck Proposition 108 from the Arizona ballot after ruling that the proposal violated Arizona's single subject rule. The measure would have let voters decide to extend the right of Arizonans to use a secret ballot in union organizing votes and public votes.

The judge stated that proponents may have had other motives for placing this measure on the ballot. Oberbillig then officially ruled that the measure violated Arizona's single subject rule, deciding that public votes and union votes were not "sufficiently or logically related to one another." The judge also stated that the Arizona Constitution already required secret ballot for public elections. The measure was then removed from the ballot[3]

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