Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Amended Complaint Filed Alleging 22 Invalid Petition Circulators For School Voucher Expansion Referendum (READ)

(UPDATES, 8/17, 12:10pm: State Elections Director Eric Spencer informs Arizona's Politics that "at this point we have not issued any final totals or sent any signatures to counties for their review.” 

Also, the Court docket does not yet show any hearing date for the circulator challenge.)

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Proponents of expanding school voucher eligibility to all Arizona students have filed an amended complaint and are alleging that 22 petition circulators were invalid and all/most of their signatures to refere the expansion law to the 2018 ballot must be thrown out.

No court date has yet been set on the challenge filed by the Arizona chapter of Americans For Prosperity, and the Secretary of State's Office has now completed its initial review of the petitions. The County Recorders will have approximately three weeks (from when they receive the petitions from the Secretary of State) to verify a 5% sample.

The Save Our Schools Arizona referendum group turned in more than 111,000 petition signatures to halt the law passed earlier this year. If more than 75,321 are found to be valid after the random verifying and the court challenge(s), voters will determine the fate of the law next November.

The court challenge (so far) focuses on some of the petition circulators - both volunteer and paid - rather than on individual signatures. One of the more unique allegations is that eight circulators marked on some petitions that they were "volunteers" but then filed registrations with the Secretary of State indicating that they were "paid circulators".

Approximately 300 signatures might thus be tainted, according to attorneys Tim LaSota and Kory Langhofer for the plaintiffs. Toward the end of the petition-gathering period, the Save Our Schools committee decided to hire some circulators to increase their numbers; they may have hired some who had been volunteers.

Langhofer tells Arizona's Politics that Elections Director Eric Spencer has not yet determined what positions he will take on either the circulators issues or the separate issue of whether the petitions should be disqualified because they were improperly worded.

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