Arizona ballot news archive

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Note: This page includes short news headlines as they happen. If you scroll through the page and read earlier headlines, information pertaining to the events in those sections may have changed significantly since the section was posted.

Fewer signatures in Phoenix?

The Arizona Court of Appeals handed a victory to Randy Jones on March 26, 2009 in the case of Randy Jones v. Paniagua, agreeing with Jones that far fewer signatures are needed on veto referenda challenging decisions of the Phoenix City Council than the Phoenix City Council was wont to require on such petitions.[1]

SCOTUS declines Nader v. Brewer

The Supreme Court of the United States announced on March 9, 2009 that it is declining to hear an appeal to Nader v. Brewer. Thirteen states, in addition to Arizona, wanted the court to reverse the decision of the Ninth Circuit; those states were Alabama, Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Nader v. Brewer was a landmark decision in the area of residency requirements.[2]

Arizona: Another shocker

Supporters of nine initiatives filed signatures in Arizona by the July 3 deadline. Earlier on Monday, August 11, Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer issued a statement officially disqualifying Proposition 203 on the grounds of insufficient signatures. Supporters of the TIME initiative are said to have a $1,000,000 warchest for the campaign. Late last week, Brewer similarly disqualified Proposition 101. Four of the nine initiatives have been certified, while three more wait with increasingly white knuckles. TIME initiative does not make ballot

Lawsuit filed to keep Prop. 201 off ballot

On July 23, the Homebuilders Association filed a lawsuit seeking to keep Proposition 201 off the ballot on the grounds that the ballot title for the proposition is "rife with errors and intentionally misleading."[3]

Governor Opposes Majority Rule Citizen Initiative


Gov. Janet Napolitano on Wednesday called "misguided and wrong" a ballot proposal that would significantly raise the bar for future initiatives intent on raising taxes or mandating state spending.

The Majority Rule proposal would require for passage that any statewide citizens initiative increasing taxes, fees or allocating spending receive support from not just a majority of voters who cast ballots, but a majority of all registered voters. That would include those voters who don't participate in the election at all.

"I'm against that," Napolitano, a Democrat, told reporters during her weekly press briefing. "Basically the way it works is, if somebody stays home and doesn't even take the effort to vote, their vote counts. They're effectively a 'no' vote."

Because general-election voter turnout generally ranges from 45 to 65 percent in Arizona - with higher turnout in presidential years such as this - critics worry that the proposal would make virtually any tax or spending initiative a non-starter at the polls.

The measure would not affect referendums or local taxing or spending measures.

Proponents of the measure say it simply aligns the state's initiative election law with existing rules governing tax increases approved by the Legislature.

In 1992, voters approved an amendment to the state Constitution requiring that any legislative tax hike receive two-thirds approval among lawmakers before it could take effect.

"Majority Rule ensures that a consensus is reached by all Arizonans before we raise our taxes or mandate increased spending," chief Majority Rule financier Jason LeVecke wrote in response to Napolitano's criticism.

LeVecke, owner of Carl's Jr. and Pizza Patron franchises, has donated more than $330,000 to the Majority Rule campaign, according to campaign finance reports filed with the Secretary of State's Office.

Driving supporters of the initiative is fear that the state's ailing finances will lead to a large-scale tax increase on the ballot in the near future.

The state has already drained many of its reserves and exhausted other accounting maneuvers in dealing with multibillion-dollar budget shortfalls this year.

"I don't know of anybody that's proposed a big tax increase," Napolitano said Wednesday, though she's one of the leading backers of a November initiative to increase the state sales tax by one percentage point. The measure would generate more than $42 billion over 30 years for transportation projects. [4]

Lawsuit filed opposing wording on initiative


The TIME Initiative committee has filed a legal challenge in hopes of preventing the Secretary of State from using a ballot description the initiative's supporters claim is designed to inspire voters to reject the proposal in November.

The ballot language was approved by lawmakers and will be published in a pamphlet that will be distributed to all households with registered voters.

TIME supporters filed the lawsuit July 11 in Maricopa County Superior Court arguing that the ballot language is illegal because it unfairly emphasizes the tax increase included in the proposal over its effects on state transportation systems. And it includes accusations that the Legislative Council broke state law requiring ballot initiatives to be described in an impartial manner.

David Martin, TIME chairman and president of the Arizona chapter of the Associated General Contractors, has issued a statement that blasted lawmakers who were part of the Legislative Council, the group responsible for the ballot language.

"The Legislative Council's partisan stunt made clear that the Legislature will stop at nothing to oppose a transportation plan," Martin said. "The move is a slap in the face to the initiative process and the people of Arizona and is a desperate attempt to scuttle a citizen's initiative designed to improve quality of live and transportation options."

The initiative, if passed, would raise $42.6 billion for transportation upgrades by increasing the state sales tax rate by one cent per dollar spent for the next 30 years. It would raise the state sales tax to 6.6 percent from 5.6 percent, which represents a 17.8-percent increase.

TIME supporters said the Legislative Council's decision to add the percentage of increase to describe the tax increase will have a negative effect on voters who will go to the polls Nov. 4. They argued it will give voters the impression that the proposed tax hike is more substantial than if the language simply noted the one-cent-per-dollar increase.

Tax-raising ballot measures that were put before voters in 1994, 2002 and 2006 did not include references to the percentage of increase to the existing tax rate.

TIME supporters also challenged the Legislative Council's decision to strike the initiative's title from the description and approve language that begins with "nothing but discussion of a tax increase," according to the lawsuit.

The TIME Initiative, which seeks to upgrade highways, freeways, light rail, commuter trains and other transportation systems, also would raise the state's mining severance tax. The mining tax increase also was noted in both actual number and by percentage increase. [5]

Lawsuit filed against Arizona Civil Rights Initiative

Opponents of the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court on June 30 to keep the initiative off the November ballot. The claim opponents are making is that the state's election law was violated by petition circulators for the measure, who are alleged to have misrepresented the purpose of the initiative. [1]

Two candidates survive signature challenges

"Two candidates for the Legislature survived challenges to their petition signatures, while a third withdrew his name as a Democratic candidate for the House of Representatives.

Sen. Albert Hale, D-Window Rock, was found to have enough valid signatures on his nominating petitions, despite a challenge from his Republican rival, Royce Jenkins. House candidate Christopher Clark Deschene survived Democratic candidate Mark Haughwout's challenge. Both played out in Maricopa County Superior Court. ...more

Nader suit against state of Arizona to have its day in court

Ralph Nader's suit challenging Arizona ballot restrictions that make it illegal for non-residents to circulate petitions for an independent presidential candidate will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th circuit at 9 am, April 15, 2008, in San Francisco. The case—Nader v Brewer, 06-16251—also questions whether Arizona’s early June petition deadline for independent presidential candidates violates Anderson v Celebrezze.[6]

School consolidation enters Arizona

Local Arizona schools are fighting consolidation plans in Phoenix, Tempe and Glendale to reduce the number of school districts that will like appear on the 2008 ballot. The state School District Redistricting Commission approved unification plans Tuesday for portions of Maricopa County as well as rural districts in Cochise, La Paz and Mohave counties.[7]

Nader sues Arizona on out-of-state petitioner prohibition

In 2004, Ralph Nader collected 6,700 more signatures than required by Arizona election law in order to qualify for the presidential ballot as the candidate of the Reform Party. Democratic Party partisans argued that Nader should not be allowed on the ballot because he'd been part of the Reform Party for less than a year--a violation of state election requirements. They also charged that 70% of his signatures were invalid because they were collected by out-of-state circulators.[8]

Nader has since filed a lawsuit challenging this law, which will be heard in the 9th circuit in October.[9]