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Arizona Save Our Secret Ballot Amendment, Proposition 113 (2010)

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The Save Our Secret Ballot Amendment, also known as Proposition 113, or SCR 1001, was on the November 2, 2010 ballot in Arizona as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment after being certified, removed, then certified once again for the ballot. The measure was approved. Approveda[1]

The proposal was introduced to extend the right of Arizonans to use a secret ballot in union organizing votes. The amendment countered the Employee Free Choice Act, a proposed national law that would grant workers the freedom to choose to form a union. However, supporters of the SOS Ballot Amendment stated that this would ban workers from voting for or against labor unions in secret ballot elections, allegedly causing intimidation to follow a certain direction on the issue. Jonathan Paton, a state senator, sponsored the bill in the senate to put the measure on the 2010 ballot.[1][2][3]


On January 14 officials of the National Labor Relations Board said the measure, along with similar measures in South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah, is unconstitutional and that the U.S. plans to invalidate the laws. Specifically, officials argue that the approved measures conflict with federal law and argue the case based on the Supremacy Clause of the United States Constitution.[4]

The current National Labor Relations Act can be read here.

The National Labor Relations Board stated on April 22, 2011 that it will file lawsuits against Arizona and South Dakota over the 2010 voter-approved state constitutional amendments. The NLRB did not file anything at that time, but did plan to do so soon after their announcement. The lawsuit was officially filed against Arizona on May 6, 2011, with South Dakota soon to follow.[5][6][7]

Legal challenges will not be filed against Utah and South Carolina yet, if at all, according to the agency's acting general counsel, in order "to conserve limited federal and state agency resources and taxpayer funds."

After facing the legal threats in January, the four attorneys general in South Carolina, Utah, Arizona, and South Dakota, entered into negotiations with the NLRB over the secret ballot initiatives. This occurred after the AG's wrote a letter on January 27, 2011 to the agency saying that they would "vigorously defend" the constitutional changes. However, these negotiations broke down during March 2011 after the AGs declined to sign confidentiality agreements.[8]

NLRB lawsuit legislation

During the week of June 1, 2011, legislation was introduced by U.S. Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) that aimed to stop the ability of the NLRB from suing states. The bill, HR 2118, specifically states that NLRB can sue individuals and companies, but cannot sue states challenging laws that they say conflict with the NLRA. According to Chaffetz: "H.R. 2118 ensures that states that choose to have pro-growth, right-to-work policies will not be intimidated and threatened by the NLRB. Deciding whether or not a state action violates federal law should be made by the DOJ, not a board of union friendly, politically motivated appointees."[9]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results

Official election results of the measure follow:

Proposition 113 (Secret Ballot)
Approveda Yes 978,109 60.5%

Results via the Official Election Canvass of Results from the Arizona Secretary of State's website.

Text of amendment

Ballot title

The ballot title that Arizona voters saw read as follows:[10]

A "yes" vote shall have the effect of guaranteeing the right under state law of individuals to vote by secret ballot in elections, designations or authorizations for employee representation (including unions and employee organizations).

A "no" vote shall have the effect of maintaining current law regarding secrecy in voting.

Short title

The short title of the measure read as follows:[11]

A concurrent resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of Arizona; Amendment Article II, Constitution of Arizona, by adding Section 36; Relating to the right to vote a secret ballot regarding employee representation.


The summary of the amendment read:

The right of individuals to vote by secret ballot is fundamental. Where state or federal law requires elections for public office or public votes on initiatives or referendum, or designations or authorizations of employee representation, the right of individuals to vote by secret ballot shall be guaranteed.[12]

Constitutional changes

The measure was proposed to amend the Arizona Constitution by adding Section 37 to Article 2 to read as follows:

The right to vote by secret ballot for employee representation is fundamental and shall be guaranteed where local, state or federal law permits or requires elections, designations or authorizations for employee representation.[13]



  • Like similar initiatives in other states, this proposed amendment was sponsored by SOS Ballot, Inc. This group was a 501(c)(4) organization that, according to its national website, was "dedicated to educating the American public on the continued need for a secret ballot wherever state or federal law requires elections."
  • Clint Bolick, member of think-tank and Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, was a board member for Save Our Secret Ballots. Bolick wrote the language for the proposed constitutional amendment.[14]
  • Linda Turley-Hansen, syndicated columnist and former Phoenix TV anchor, advised a 'yes' vote on the measure in an editorial revealing her recommendations for all the propositions on the November ballot.[17]


According to the SOS Ballot website:[20]

"SOS Ballot and our supporters believe that a voter's right to a secret ballot is an essential and fundamental principle in our society and offers opportunities for broader voter participation. Without the ability to vote secretly, individual political freedom will decline and be subject to threats and intimidation by those who want voters to pursue a specific course of action or ideology."




Arguments that were made against the measure follow:

  • The measure was deceiving to voters and was written to appear as if it was supporting the rights of workers. The measure, opponents said, would force a secret ballot election when the majority of those workers might want to agree to skip an election.
  • The measure would bring costly lawsuits to the state, because it could conflict with federal law that may be passed by Congress relating to the issue, called the Employee Free Choice Act.[16]


  • According to Robert Glennon, a University of Arizona law professor, who in a news article did not state his opposition or support for the measure, but did state that the measure could become nullified if federal legislation against the measure was passed. Glennon stated, "Ordinarily, when the federal government passes a law and the state does something that's inconsistent with that law, it's pre-empted." Reports are stating that a "lame duck" session of Congress could be held after the November elections in order to enact a "card check" legislation that would pave the way for a union to be formed with the signatures and consent of at least half of the workers that would be affected by a union. This would eliminate the need for any kind of election.[22]


Advertisements against Prop. 113

Campaign contributions


Campaign contributions that were in support of the proposed amendment included:[23]

Contributor Amount
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $135,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $100,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $80,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $55,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $50,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $40,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $40,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $35,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $27,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $25,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $20,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $15,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $15,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $13,150
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $10,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $10,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $10,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $10,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $10,000
Contributor Amount
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $10,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $10,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $10,000
Varied contributions; Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc.; Sydney Hay $10,000
Varied expenditures; Wilson Research Strategies $10,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $7,500
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $5,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $5,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $5,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $5,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $5,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $5,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $5,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $5,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $5,000
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $2,500
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $2,500
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $2,500
Save Our Secret Ballot, Inc. $2,500


On June 29, 2010, a Maricopa County Superior Court judge planned to hear arguments surrounding the measure. Arguments heard regarded a lawsuit filed by a labor union that argued that the measure violated Arizona's "single-subject rule." The rule stated that constitutional ballot measures should be limited to one question. The labor union that filed the lawsuit wanted the measure off of the ballot. However supporters of the measure countered that the measure did not violate this rule and argued at the time that it should not be removed from the ballot. After a Superior Court judge heard the case, there was no immediate decision on a ruling.

However, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Oberbillig stated that he had serious questions about the legality of the measure. The fact that the measure would amend the constitution to give the right of secret ballot in public and union elections were two separate issues. The judge stated that proponents may have had other motives for placing this measure on the ballot. Oberbillig reserved judgment on the case.[24][25]

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.[26]

The lawsuit, which was filed as Case Number CV2010-014942, was filed by the United Food & Commercial Workers Local 99, and the defendants, as listed by the case file, included the Legislature Of The State Of Arizona, Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett and the Board Of Supervisors Of Maricopa County. That decision was affirmed by the Arizona Supreme Court on August 3, 2010 in the case of McLaughlin v. Bennett[27]

Special legislative session

Governor of Arizona Jan Brewer called lawmakers back into legislative session to discuss the measure, and to alter it to make it constitutional, in order to place the measure on the ballot again. On August 10, 2010, the legislature advanced the measure, leaving a final vote scheduled for August 11, 2010. The measure, according to reports, was expected to be re-sent to the ballot with enough votes in the session. According to reports, the measure was re-sent to the ballot on August 11, 2010 after the Arizona House and the Arizona Senate voted to have the measure placed on the general election ballot for voters to decide.[28][29]

Analysis, reports and studies

Legislative analysis

A legislative council analysis performed on the measure and published in the Arizona Secretary of State's Publicity Pamphlet, impartially stated the following, in terms of what the measure would do if enacted:[10]

Proposition 113 would amend the Arizona Constitution to guarantee the fundamental right to vote by secret ballot when a local, state or federal law permits or requires an election, designation or authorization for employee representation.

Media endorsements

See also: Endorsements of Arizona ballot measures, 2010


  • The Arizona Daily Star supported Proposition 113, saying, "Would amend the state constitution to require workers seeking union representation to hold an election, even if federal laws were changed to simply allow workers to sign a card to indicate their support for unionization."[30]
  • Today's News Herald endorsed secret ballots, stating, "All businesses are struggling in this economy and small businesses are particularly hard hit. Should it become easier for unions to organize in the workplace, it will only be a win for employees if the businesses’ doors remain open. Many businesses currently operating would not be able to do so with a labor union in place. Of equal importance is the right of all people to secret ballots. Secret ballots help reduce coercion, threats and other intimidation. Union votes should not be the exception to the secret ballot right."[31]
  • The Arizona Republic endorsed the measure, writing, "The Arizona legislation stipulates that Arizona workers will not give up their current right to a secret, anonymous ballot when deciding whether to organize. The Arizona Republic strongly supports Proposition 113, a reasonable last-line defense against union muscle-flexing in Washington, D.C.[32]
  • Inside Tuscon Business stated: "Vote yes to keep the requirement for workers to cast a secret ballot when forming a union bargaining unit."[33]
  • The Desert Lamp stated in an editorial about the measure: "This measure would allow workers the right to keep their vote secret, and cast it in a private manner. While shouting dissent at the company election might sound like badass fun to some, the right to a secret ballot will probably let you keep your job longer while still casting an honest vote."[34]
  • Goldwater State was for the measure, stating, "Employees and Arizona businesspeople alike will be protected by Prop. 113's passage. It is only union management and leftist ideologues who stand to lose. Vote "yes"."[35]


  • The Yuma Sun opposed Proposition 113, saying, "we don't think labor issues should be inserted into the Arizona Constitution. That is a legislative matter, not a constitutional one."[36]
  • The East Valley Tribune recommended a 'no' vote on the measure, stating, "And if the federal law does pass, it would supersede state law anyway. Prop 113 would be declared unconstitutional, but only after lengthy and costly litigation. What’s the point?"[37]

Path to the ballot

Before the Arizona State Legislature voted to put this proposed amendment on the ballot, a group led by Sidney Hay planned to gather signatures to qualify it for the ballot as an initiated constitutional amendment. Hay was the president of the Arizona Mining Association and a former candidate for U.S. Congress.

See also

Suggest a link


External links

Additional reading


  1. 1.0 1.1 Arizona Capitol Times, "GOP sends 3 measures to 2010 ballot", August 5, 2009
  2. Alliance for Worker Freedom, "Arizona: "Save Our Secret Ballots" Group Includes AZ in Plans to Change State Constitutions"
  3. Employee Free Choice Act, "Petition"
  4. Rapid City Journal,"Feds prepare to sue South Dakota over secret ballot amendment," January 14, 2011
  5. Law360.com, "NLRB To Sue SD, Ariz. Over Union Ballot Laws", April 25, 2011
  6. The Associated Press, "NLRB will sue Ariz., SD over union laws", April 25, 2011
  7. East Valley Tribune, "Federal regulators sue Arizona over union amendment", May 6, 2011
  8. Rapid City Journal, "Feds may sue over secret ballot vote," March 18, 2011
  9. The Hill, "Chaffetz seeks to end NLRB's ability to sue states", June 6, 2011
  10. 10.0 10.1 Arizona Secretary of State, "Publicity Pamphlet", Retrieved September 21, 2010
  11. Arizona Secretary of State, "2010 General Election", Retrieved September 1, 2010
  12. SOSBallot, "Arizona", March 19, 2009
  13. Arizona Secretary of State, "Senate Concurrent Resolution 1001", Retrieved May 27, 2011
  14. East Valley Tribune, "Arizona in position to be federalism shield", July 18, 2009
  15. Tuscon Citizen, "Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry endorses five ballot measures", June 25, 2010
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 Arizona Republic, "Arizona prop. 113: Secret vote required to form union", October 5, 2010
  17. East Valley Tribune, "Voters: Awaken and prepare for heavy-duty ballot propositions", October 10, 2010
  18. Kingman Daily Miner, "Officials sound off on upcoming propositions", October 14, 2010
  19. Inside Tuscon Business, "Pro-business endorsements from Tucson chamber of commerce", October 22, 2010
  20. SOS Ballot, "About SOS Ballot"
  21. Blog For Arizona, "PCDP Ballot Measure Recommendations", Retrieved October 18, 2010
  22. Arizona Daily Star, "GOP backing AZ Prop. 113, secret ballot in union vote", September 28, 2010
  23. Arizona Secretary of State, "Notifications of Contributions to Ballot Measure Committees"
  24. KGUN9.com, "Court to hear challenge to proposed ballot measure", June 29, 2010
  25. East Valley Tribune, "Judge to rule on anti-union secret ballot measure", June 29, 2010
  26. Arizona Daily Sun, "Arizona judge tosses secret ballot measure", June 30, 2010
  27. Justice Court Case Information, "Case Number CV2010-014942", June 30, 2010
  28. Arizona Republic, "Arizona anti-union measure nears Nov. 2 ballot", August 11, 2010
  29. Arizona Daily Star, "Requiring secret ballot for unions sent to AZ voters", August 12, 2010
  30. Arizona Daily Star, "The Star's recommendations on state, local propositions", October 28, 2010
  31. Today's News Herald, "'Card check' ballot question should win votes", October 8, 2010
  32. Arizona Republic, "Protect workers from intimidation", October 29, 2010
  33. Inside Tuscon Business, "Recapping where we stand on candidates and propositions", October 29, 2010
  34. Desert Lamp, "The Desert Lamp’s Ballot Proposition Endorsements", October 20, 2010
  35. Goldwater State, "Ballot question summaries and recommendations part 1: Propositions 106-113, the Constitutional amendments", November 1, 2010
  36. Yuma Sun, "Proposition 111 seeks to clarify succession line", October 1, 2010
  37. East Valley Tribune, "Endorsements: Ballot propositions", October 24, 2010