Ballot initiative to reform Arizona election laws allegedly gathered signatures illegally

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A voter drops off a ballot for the Arizona Democratic presidential preference election Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Phoenix. Ross D. Franklin / AP

A ballot initiative that would significantly change how the state’s electoral campaigns are funded and conducted is facing allegations of illegal signature gathering. 

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit challenging an initiative that it calls “radical” and argues will weaken the state’s election integrity laws. 

The AFEC complaint alleges that many of the signatures turned in to support the initiative were invalid for various reasons and should not have counted. 

The organization argues that some signatures were gathered by paid circulators who failed to register with the Secretary of the State’s office and that others included incorrect information. 

In all, the club estimates that over half of the signatures on the election initiative were illegally gathered.

“After analyzing over 45,000 petition sheets and 420,000 signatures, it’s clear that well over half of the signatures on this election initiative were collected in violation of state law,” President Scot Mussi said in a statement. “That should be more than enough to invalidate this initiative.”

The club also expressed these concerns with the initiative, if it were to pass, in a press release:

  • Upend Arizona’s election administration and voter registration laws.
  • Sharply reduce candidate contribution limits while channeling more taxpayer subsidies to so-called “Clean Elections” candidates. 
  • Curtail safeguards governing the initiative and referendum process. 
  • Impose new taxes.

The defendants in the case are Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and the political committee Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections.

The initiative in question is called the Arizona Fair Elections Act. 

Among other provisions, the initiative would mandate automatic voter registration for everyone who obtains a state-issued ID, allow for same-day voter registration, and expand early voting.

Hobbs’ office and Arizonans for Free and Fair Elections could not be immediately reached for comment.

Republished with the permission of The Center Square.