Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, June 25, 2012

Redistricting and primary elections challenge update

Today, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission installed a new District Locator tool on its website.

This interactive feature will allow people to identify which legislative and Congressional district they live in simply by keying in the address.

On another issue for the AIRC, attorneys Mike Liburdi and Lisa Hauser recently filed a public records request, apparently hoping to find something that will keep their lawsuit against the commission from being dismissed as being frivolous.

As far as I can tell, no new pleadings or briefs have been filed in court on any of the Republican lawsuits against the AIRC since the last time I posted on the subject.


Kory Langhofer, attorney for Ken Cheuvront's mother, Jean McDermott, has filed a notice of appeal challenging the Superior Court ruling removing her from the primary election ballot. The minute entry issued by Judge Arthur Anderson explaining his decision to remove McDermott is included as Exhibit A on the notice. An exerpt:

A.R.S. § 16-311(G) provides:
The nomination paper shall include the exact manner in which the candidate desires to have the person's name printed on the official ballot and shall be limited to the candidate's surname and given name or names, an abbreviated version of such names or appropriate initials such as “Bob” for “Robert”, “Jim” for “James”, “Wm.” for “William” or “S.” for “Samuel”. Nicknames are permissible, but in no event shall nicknames, abbreviated versions or initials of given names suggest reference to professional, fraternal, religious or military titles. No other descriptive name or names shall be printed on the official ballot, except as provided in this section. Candidates' abbreviated names or nicknames may be printed within quotation marks. The candidate's surname shall be printed first, followed by the given name or names.
The Court finds that on her nomination paper, Defendant listed her surname (i.e., her last name) as “Cheuvront-McDermott.” It is undisputed that “Cheuvront-McDermott” is not Defendant’s surname, even though she might be known to others as “Ms. Cheuvront” or “Ms. Cheuvront-McDermott.”2 (See Resp. at 5-6.) In this regard, Defendant asserts that “Cheuvront” is a nickname. Although § 16-311(G) permits a candidate to list a nickname, the Court does not construe this section to permit a nickname to be listed in lieu of or a part of a candidate’s surname. Assuming without deciding that “Cheuvront” is in fact Defendant’s nickname3, her assertion would have more merit had she listed her surname as “McDermott” and her given name and nickname as “Jean Cheuvront.” 

Defendant argues she should not be excluded from the ballot because her petition was in substantial compliance with statutory requirements. The issue is whether the listing of her surname as “Cheuvront-McDermott” was a mere technical departure from form, or whether it could confuse or mislead voters. See Bee v. Day, 218 Ariz. 505, 507 (2008). The issue is not whether Defendant could campaign under the “Cheuvront” name or otherwise make it known to voters that she is a “Cheuvront.” By listing her surname as “Cheuvront-McDermott,” Defendant’s contended-nickname, “Cheuvront,” will appear first, reading left to right. (Resp. at 6.) The Court finds that this violates the plain language of the statute.
Furthermore, to the extent “Cheuvront” is urged as a “descriptive nickname” or “surname nickname” these unique formulations do not satisfy the plain language of the statute or bring this petition into substantial statutory compliance.
The Court finds that Defendant’s petition is not in substantial compliance with the statute.
Because this is an election related case, the Arizona Supreme Court will have to deal with it pretty quickly. For this primary election, early voting begins August 2.

When Langhofer sets forth his argument, I will post it.


Of course, today was a big day politically and legally for the great (and sometimes wacky) State of Arizona.

Ted Simons and Arizona Horizon provided local analysis of the legal and political issues related to the US Supreme Court gutting SB1070. Two ASU law professors and an immigrant advocate share their legal insights. Former House Minority Leader John Loredo also faces off with current House Appropriations Chair John Kavanagh on the political ramifications.

Loredo makes key points about the role of ALEC and the private prison industry's role in development of Arizona's draconian immigration legislation.

Kavanagh (who also reads the Arizona Eagletarian) probably feels he won that argument, but I'd put that in the same category as Gov. Brewer declaring victory over today's ruling. He denies ALEC had any role, saying he was in the strategy sessions for developing SB1070.

In my mind, what is notable about Kavanagh's rhetoric is that he does not have to worry about a challenge from a Democratic candidate for the seat he now holds in the Arizona House of Representatives. First, no Democratic candidate filed nominating petitions for a seat from that district. Second, the REASON no Democrat filed is because, by all of the competitiveness index tables used by the AIRC in development of the map, show Republicans with at least a 61 percent registration or performance advantage (to 38 percent or so for Democrats).

So, Kavanagh can be as outrageous as he wants to be. For the most part. There is, however, a third Republican seeking one of the two seats in the Arizona House there. But with Kavanagh and Michelle Ugenti being incumbents, how realistic is it for Jennifer Petersen to think she could oust the House Appropriations committee chairman?

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