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Jenkins v. Hale

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Jenkins v. Hale is a legal case heard by the Arizona Supreme Court on July 7, 2008. What the court had to determine was whether signatures on petitions to qualify three candidates for the September 2, 2008 state legislative primary were valid.

The candidates whose ballot positions were at stake in the case were:

  • State Senator Albert Hale, D-Window Rock. His signatures were challenged by Republican rival Royce Jenkins.
  • State legislator Albert Tom, D-Chambers. His signatures were challenged by Democratic candidate Mark Haughwout.
  • State house candidate Chris Deschene. His signatures were challenged by Mark Haughwout.

Hale, Tom and Descheeny are Democrats and Navajos. After they filed their nominating petitions, his Republican rival, Royce Jenkins. opponents challenged their signatures arguing that:

  • Some petition signers gave a P.O. Box as their residence, not a street address.

Most of the challenged signatures were those of Native Americans, who held a rally at the state capitol on June 25 to protest having their signatures struck. Many Native Americans do not have or use physical street addresses, according to those who spoke at the press conference.

A lower court ruled in favor of the validity of the signatures. The ruling was appealed. On July 7, the Arizona court upheld the lower court ruling.

However, only Sen. Hale and candidate Descheeny will be on the ballot as the result of the ruling. Albert Tom will not be on the ballot because even when signatures with post office boxes are counted, he had only 495 valid signatures versus a requirement of 522.

Tom would have had sufficient signatures, were it not for the fact that if a person who lives in one county signs a petition designated as for a different county, that person's signatures is not allowed to county. According to Tom, he collected most of his signatures on reservations whose boundaries are not the same as the state's county boundaries.

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