Arizona Secretary of State

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The Secretary of State has an expansive list of duties in Arizona ranging from moderating administrative rules to serving as the chief election officer. Arizona's role of Secretary of State is also unique as it serves as acting governor when the Governor is absent or otherwise unable to serve, filling a role usual given to the Lieutenant Governor, a position not existing in Arizona.

The current secretary of state is Ken Bennett. He succeeded Jan Brewer, when Brewer became Governor of Arizona.

Qualifications

Here is a list of the standard qualifications necessary under Arizona State Law in order to be considered for the Office of Secretary of State:

  • No person shall be eligible to any of the offices mentioned in section 1 of this article except a person of:
  • the age of not less than twenty-five years
  • who shall have been for ten years next preceding his election a citizen of the United States
  • and for five years next preceding his election a citizen of Arizona. (Arizona Constitution, Article V § 2)

Term of office

See also: States with gubernatorial term limits, State legislatures with term limits

The Secretary of State, like the governor, is subject to term limits. The Secretary of State is elected to a four year term, and may not serve more than two consecutive terms (part of a term counts as a full term).

Arizona's term limits were approved by the state's voters in 1992, when Proposition 107 was enacted with 74.2% of the vote.

Overview

The Arizona Secretary of State has jurisdiction over state election laws, ensuring uniform implementation throughout the state. The Secretary of State also qualifies statewide and state district candidates and ballot initiatives.

Any member of the public may propose a ballot issue in Arizona. There are certain steps that must be followed in order to get the issue on the ballot, and these steps are regulated by the Secretary of State. The process that a citizen must follow is examined in detail here: Arizona Initiative Law.

Proponents must file their application with Secretary of State with the full text of the ballot attached and file their Statement of Organization (which must be done in accordence with the states campaign finance law). The Secretary will file the application and assign it a serial number. After this the petition can begin circulation.

When enough signatures are collected

When the petition is turned in to the Secretary of State, the signatures are verified. This will take about 30 days. Only when this process is completed will the Secretary of State set the ballot title and summary. The ballot is then reviewed by the Attorney General to check the legality of the ballot.

  • Currently, there is no recourse if the proponents of the ballot do not agree with the Secretary of State's new language other than a lawsuit.

Within the next 60 days citizens can submit pro/con arguments for the ballot with the Secretary of State. This is the when the Legislative Counsel shall prepare and file an impartial analysis of the provisions of the the ballot and a measure shall be written in clear and concise language, avoiding technical terms wherever possible. The measure may include:

  • existing law
  • any legislative enactment suspended by the referendum if its approved/rejected
  • background information

Getting the information to the public

One of the methods used by the Secretary of State to disseminate information is the Voter Guides. Analysis and arguments are included in the voter guides. The pamphlet is mailed by the Secretary of State to mcounty election officials, who in turn mail it to all households with a registered voter. It is also possible to contact the Secretary of State's office directly to obtain the VIP in alternate formats (Braille, large print, electronically, etc.).

The Secretary of State also holds three meetings in different counties to provide an opportunity for the general public to provide testimony and request information about ballot measures.

Divisions

The Secretary of State is divided into seven divisions. These are:

  • Business Filings
  • Notary
  • Advance Directives
  • Publications
  • Rules Filings
  • Legislative Filings
  • Elections

The role of the Chief Election officer include:

  • Serves as Chief Election Officer for the State and certifies candidates and measures (initiative and referendum) to the ballot and certifies election results.
  • Transmits and certifies the results of statewide elections.
  • Prepares, witnesses the signing of, and files with the President of the Senate and National Archives and Records Administration, the Presidential and Vice Presidential Elector Ballot Certificate of Vote.
  • Files abstracts of votes for multi-county election districts.
  • Serves as Registration Officer for Lobbyists and registers and files expenditure reports made by principals, public bodies, and lobbyists.
  • Accepts and files campaign finance reports.
  • Tests and certifies voting devices used by the counties
  • Trains and certifies county election officials.

Contact information

Arizona

Capitol Address:
1700 West Washington Street, 7th Floor
Phoenix, AZ 85007-2888

Phone: (602) 542-4285
Toll Phone: (602) 255-8683
Fax: (602) 542-1575

See also

External links