Wednesday, July 7, 2021

BREAKING, HEAVY DUTY CLIPBOARDS A NECESSITY: New Referendum Petition To Attack Raft of Election-Related Measures In Arizona's Omnibus Budget Bill

For the fifth time in three weeks, a new petition seeking to un-do part of the Arizona Legislature's 2021 work product has been filed with the Arizona Secretary of State. Today's referendum application attacks a handful of previously-rejected election-related items tucked away in the massive budget reconciliation package.

A group called "Arizona Deserves Better" wants voters to have a say next year on these controversial provisions:
1a) Ordering Arizona Game & Fish Department to conduct voter registration efforts;
1b) allowing the Legislature to designate an individual or company to have access to voter registration databases and make sure that registrants who do not provide proof of citizenship can only vote for President and Congress;
2) calling for ballot paper to contain watermarks, bar codes and other possible anti-fraud measures;
3) a $500,000 fund to investigate social media platforms and search engines to see whether they help candidates and/or hurt others;
4) tasking the Auditor General to report on voter registration and outreach events attended by the Secretary of State and the Maricopa County and Pima County Recorders (item one also would require those elected officials to publicly report their event calendars);
5) removes legal authority from Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and gives it to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich.

That group has also filed two other election-related referenda applications, and "Invest in Arizona" filed two on efforts by the lawmakers (and Governor Doug Ducey) to undo the Invest In Ed initiative passed by voters in 2020.

Because state law requires the entire bill to be attached to each petition page (and voters cannot sign using the state's E-qual signature hub), petition circulators will each be lugging around pounds of paper. Today's application, for example, is 56 pages long.

The groups have until September 28, 2021 to collect at least 118,823 valid signatures... on each of the five referenda.

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