City officials are considering a challenge to a recent Arizona Supreme Court ruling that requires officials to use a lower signature threshold to verify referendum petitions than previously used. On March 26 the Arizona Court of Appeals a lower court decision that held Phoenix’s method for evaluating petitions violated the state’s constitution. The case hinges on what election signature requirement should be tied to.

Read the story from the Arizona Republic

In 1998 Arizona voters passed an initiative that barred the state legislature from tampering with ballot measures that the voters had put into law. The Voter Protection Act was a response to years of legislative evisceration of initiatives.

The Unites States Supreme Court denied Arizona’s request for an appeal in the case Nader v. Brewer. Last year the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Arizona’s law requiring petition circulators to be state residents. Thirteen other states had asked the high court to overturn the decistion. Similar laws in Ohio and Oklahoma were invalidated last year in the 6th and 10th Circuit Courts of Appeal.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Arizona’s appeal on Brewer v Nader, (08-648).The high court has decided to let the decision stand nullifying the state residency requirement for petition circulators.

This case has a major impact for ballot initiative and referendum rights as well as third party candidates trying to get on the ballot.

Ballot Access News reported on the implications of the decision:

You have full Initiative & Referendum rights. Citizens can pass laws they write or suspend a statute passed by the Legislature by collecting enough petition signatures to place the statute on the statewide ballot for a decision by the voters. Voters can also initiate constitutional amendments by Initiative.

Coalition for an Open & Accessible Initiative Process:

Arizonans in Action


See the results of a poll on support for statewide initiative & referendum here.


Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

Arizona acquired statewide initiative, referendum, and recall rights at
the time of statehood in 1912. Equity mentions “Hon. A. C. Baker of
Phoenix” as a leader of the local direct democracy movement.

The first initiative was for women’s suffrage, and it passed by a margin
of greater than two to one on November 5, 1912. Two years later, in 1914,
a total of 15 initiatives qualified for the Arizona ballot: a record for initiative
use in that state.


Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

State Balloting Process

Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

As soon as proponents file their application with the full
text of the initiative attached and file their Statement of Organization (to
adhere to the state’s campaign finance regulations), they can begin
circulating. Petitions must contain the full text of the initiative, along with a
displayed serial number (given to them when they file their initiative). The
Secretary of State (SOS) does not review or approve the language; nor
does the SOS set a ballot title or summary at this time – they only need the

Ballot Qualifications & Schedule

Mon, Feb 16 by Anonymous

Date Initiative language can be submitted: Any time after even year general elections.

Signatures are tied to vote of which office: Governor

Next Gubernatorial election: 2010

Votes cast for governor in last election: 1,533,640

Net number of signatures required: For statute – 10% of votes cast for
governor (153,364). For constitutional amendment – 15% (230,046)

Distribution Requirement: None

Circulation period: 620 Days

Arizona voters could have the chance next year to change how ballot measures make it into the polling place.

A bipartisan group of state legislators has drafted an overhaul package it wants to put before Arizonans in 2010. The package, introduced in the state House, was spurred by problems with several proposed 2008 ballot measures, including allegations of misleading titles, fraudulent signatures and bogus legal language.

Gloucester County petitioners on the hook for $80,000 worth of fines took their civic battle to Richmond this week and scored key victories in the House of Delegates.

They also picked up the support of what could become a key ally, the American Civil Liberties Union.

Important Court Cases

Wed, Jan 28 by Anonymous
Yes on Term Limits v. Savage (2008)


As a case from Arizona concerning a ban on non-residents circulating petitions is appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the High Court just last week denied the State of Ohio’s appeal of a federal court ruling that the state’s ban on per signature payments to petition circulators is unconstitutional.

With Congress poised to act to end the secret ballot rights of employees choosing representation, a national movement to protect the secret ballot in state constitutions launched in Arizona and in four other states.

When a man swung a pickax at the metal housing of a freeway speed camera, the clang resonated with untold numbers of Arizona drivers frustrated with the 3-month-old program.

It’s hard to know if the cameras have more fans or foes. But, so far, the foes have been more vocal, filling up Internet discussion boards and talk-radio airwaves. These impassioned people want the cameras to come down - if not with a pickax, then with a vote.