Articles Posted in Election Law

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In this opinion, the Supreme Court explained its reasoning for its previously issued orders affirming the trial court’s rulings that the Proposition 127, Renewable Energy Standards Initiative qualified for the November 2018 ballot. At issue was a political action committee’s (Committee) organization formation, the adequacy of the title of the Initiative, and whether the trial court erred in finding a sufficient number of valid petition signatures to support placement of Proposition 127 on the ballot. The Supreme Court held (1) Plaintiffs may not contest the validity of the Initiative based on the statement of the Committee’s alleged non-compliance with Ariz. Rev. Stat. 16-906(B); (2) the Initiative’s title was legally sufficient; and (3) the trial court’s finding that there were a sufficient number of signatures required to place the Initiative on the ballot was not in error. View "Leach v. Reagan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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The Supreme Court explained the reasons for its prior decision order disqualifying the “Stop Political Dirty Money Amendment” (the Initiative) from the November 2018 general election ballot, holding that Ariz. Rev. Stat. 19-118(C), which invalidates any petition signatures obtained by a registered circulator subpoenaed in an election challenge who fails to appear for trial, is constitutional. After the Outlaw Dirty Money political committee (Committee) filed signature petitions with the Secretary of State to qualify the Initiative for the November 2018 ballot, Petitioners filed a complaint pursuant to Ariz. Rev. Stat. 19-118(D) challenging the validity of certain petitions based on objections to petition circulators. Later, the Committee filed a complaint claiming that the Secretary erroneously removed certain petition sheets and signatures during her review and subpoenaed fifteen circulators requiring their appearance at an evidentiary hearing. None of the subpoenaed circulators appeared at the hearing. The trial court subsequently disqualified the non-appearing subpoenaed circulators’ petition signatures, a ruling that rendered the Initiative ineligible for the November 2018 ballot. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) section 19-118 fosters the integrity of the initiative process and does so by reasonable means; and (2) therefore, section 19-118(C)’s disqualification provision is constitutional on its face and as applied. View "Stanwitz v. Reagan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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In this opinion, the Supreme Court explained its ruling that House Concurrent Resolution 2007 (HCR 2007) does not violate the constitutional “single subject rule,” holding that because the two provisions of HCR 2007 are reasonably related to one general subject, the measure satisfies the single subject rule. Challengers filed suit requesting the trial court to enjoin the Secretary of State from placing HCR 2007 on the ballot, alleging that the measure violated the single subject rule contained in Ariz. Const. art. IV, part 2. Relying on Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry v. Kiley, 242 Ariz. 533 (2017), the trial court concluded that the rule does not apply to HCR 2007. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) measures referred to the people by the legislature are “acts” subject to the single subject rule; and (2) HCR 2007 satisfied the single subject rule. View "Hoffman v. Reagan" on Justia Law

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In this opinion, the Supreme Court explained the reasons for its prior order disqualifying the “Invest in Education Act” initiative from the November 2018 election ballot, holding that the initiative’s description was fatally flawed because it did not comply with the requirements of Ariz. Rev. Stat. 19-102(A). The proposed initiative would increase K-12 education funding and raise certain income tax rates to support it. When Petitioners sought to invalidate the initiative, the superior court ruled that the initiative was eligible for the ballot. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the initiative’s proponents did not comply with the requirements of section 19-102(A) because their description of the initiative’s principal provisions omitted material provisions and failed adequately to inform those who signed petitions to place the measure on the ballot about what they were signing. View "Molera v. Reagan" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Frank Tamburri seeks the Libertarian Party nomination for United States Senator in the 2016 election. Pursuant to A.R.S. 16-314, Tamburri timely filed a nomination petition which included 4,205 signatures. Robert Graham, Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, filed suit challenging the validity of 2,845 signatures and sought to exclude Tamburri’s name from the Libertarian primary election ballot. On appeal, Tamburri challenges the trial court’s order excluding his name from the Libertarian primary election ballot for the office of United States Senator. Tamburri concedes that he did not collect at least 3,034 signatures from “qualified signers” under A.R.S. 16-321 and -322. As a preliminary matter, the court rejected Tamburri's procedural arguments. The court held that the signature requirements of H.B. 2608 do not severely burden the ability of candidates to exercise their First Amendment rights where Tamburri has failed to show that the increased signature requirements, either facially or as applied to him, would prevent “reasonably diligent” minor party candidates from gaining ballot access. The court concluded that the 0.25 percent signature requirement is rationally related to the state’s legitimate interest in ensuring that candidates who appear on the general election ballot have some significant modicum of support. Accordingly, the court affirmed the trial court’s judgment excluding Tamburri’s name from the primary ballot. View "Graham v. Tamburri" on Justia Law

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In August, 2014, Elizabeth Joice filed a nomination paper with the Maricopa County Education Service Agency (“Agency”) announcing her intent to run for a vacant term of the Peoria Unified School District Governing Board. Joice also filed nominating petitions that did not comply with Ariz. Rev. Stat. 16-314(D). Raymond Malnar filed this action challenging Joice’s candidacy based on her non-compliant nomination petitions. The superior court upheld Malnar’s challenge and ordered that Joice’s name not be included on the 2014 general election ballot. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because the record reflected proper service on Joice, the superior court correctly found that it had jurisdiction over the matter; and (2) the superior court imposed an appropriate remedy for the violation. View "Malnar v. Joice" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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In 2010, the Arizona legislature amended Ariz. Rev. Stat. 15-1441(I) to require the election of two at-large members to the governing board of community colleges located in very populous counties. Plaintiffs filed a complaint seeking a declaration that section 15-1441(I) violates Arizona’s constitutional prohibition against special laws. The superior court concluded that the legislation did not violate the special law prohibition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that, under the test set forth in Republic Inv. Fund I v. Town of Surprise, section 15-1441(I) does not violate the special laws provision of article 4, part 2, section 19 of the Arizona Constitution. View "Gallardo v. State" on Justia Law

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Dan Shooter filed a petition seeking to remove Toby Farmer’s name from the primary ballot for the office of State Senator for Legislative District 13 on the grounds that seven of the signatures on two of Farmer’s petition sheets were signed by persons other than the voters whose names had been signed. Shooter asked the trial court to infer that Farmer knew of the forgeries. The trial court declined to do so and determined that petition forgery had not been proved. Accordingly, the court did not remove Farmer’s name from the ballot. The Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s judgment and denied Farmer’s request for attorney’s fees, holding that the trial court’s factual findings were not clearly erroneous and that Shooter did not act in bad faith. View "Shooter v. Farmer" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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Doug Clark, the incumbent Constable for the Downtown Justice of the Peace Precinct of Maricopa County, challenged the sufficiency of Jimmy Munoz Jr.’s nominating petitions. The trial court removed Munoz’s name from the ballot for the office of Constable, concluding (1) several of Munoz’s petition sheets were invalid because they contained a photograph of the Maricopa County Constable’s badge that could confuse or mislead voters, and (2) when the signatures on these sheets were excluded, Munoz had fewer than the required number of valid signatures. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Munoz’s petition sheets containing the photograph did not substantially comply with Ariz. Rev. Code 16-315(A), and therefore, the trial court correctly removed Munoz’s name from the primary ballot. View "Clark v. Munoz" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law

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In 1998, Arizona voters passed an initiative to create the Citizens Clean Elections Act (“CCEA”), which established public funding for political candidates in statewide and state legislative elections. Under this system, candidates who opt not to receive public funding (“nonparticipating candidates”) cannot accept contributions greater than eighty percent of the campaign contribution limits as specified in Ariz. Rev. Stat. 16-905. In 2013, the legislature passed H.B. 2593, which amended section 16-905 by increasing campaign contribution limits. The Citizens Clean Elections Commission and others ("Commission") asked the superior court to declare H.B. 2593 unconstitutional and to enjoin the Secretary of State from implementing it, alleging that the CCEA fixed campaign contribution limits as they existed in 1998 for nonparticipating candidates. The superior court denied the Commission’s motion for a preliminary injunction. The issue eventually reached the Supreme Court, which held that, rather than fixing contribution limits at eighty percent of the amounts that existed in 1998, the CCEA provides a formula for calculating contribution limits, and therefore, the superior court did not err in its judgment. View "Ariz. Citizens Clean Elections Comm’n v. Hon. Brain" on Justia Law

Posted in: Election Law