Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Cesar Chavez strategy, or why it can be reasonable to challenge nominating signatures



Pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes, in order for candidates for statewide or legislative offices (including Congress) to qualify to have their names placed on the ballot for the August 26th primary, a person must obtain a certain number of valid signatures of qualified voters on nominating petitions.

The deadline for filing those nominating petitions was May 28. The petitions are submitted to the Arizona Secretary of State's office which looks them over for basic criteria, such as whether the petition circulator signed each sheet s/he circulated and whether all of the necessary information is supplied for each voter signature (i.e. date signed, address). But the SOS does NOT verify that each of the names correspond to properly registered voters.

That's one of the things done by political party volunteers. If those volunteers determine that too few valid signatures were submitted, someone may file a lawsuit challenging the person's nomination for the ballot. The SOS maintains a list of challenges pending this year and the current status.

The two challenges that intrigue me the most so far this year are to Scott Fistler (aka Cesar Chavez) and Ethan Orr. The Pima County Democratic Party issued a press release explaining its position and reason for challenging Orr.

The Arizona Republic has reported on the challenge to Fistler's candidacy.

Another intriguing case is Don Shooter's challenge to Republican primary opponent Toby Farmer (search, in case history, for case number CV2014-008772). Traditionally, a rank and file voter files as plaintiff, but in this case Don "Shoot 'em up" Shooter brazenly filed as his own plaintiff. Filed yesterday, an initial Order to Show Cause hearing is scheduled for June 16 at 1pm before Cathi Herrod's husband. Tim LaSota represents Shooter.

I've requested LaSota send me a copy of the lawsuit. I'll post it and update this blog when I receive it.

Three of the petition challenges listed so far have been resolved. Miguel Olivos, Libertarian hopeful for CD3 withdrew his candidacy as did Johnny Robinson, CD7 Democratic hopeful. On the other hand, the suit against Randy Camacho, also running for the Democratic nomination in CD7, was dismissed and his name will appear on the ballot.

Independent candidate James Samuelson, running for CD5 (currently held by Salmon) also is being challenged by a voter represented by LaSota. There is a Democratic candidate in that district also, but Samuelson filed 4,606 signatures, so Salmon is apparently taking him seriously. I'll keep you posted on that one too. It is scheduled for hearing before Judge Katherine Cooper on June 17 at 1:30 pm.

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