Thursday, June 18, 2020

Bipartisan call to protect Arizonans' Constitutional rights during ongoing pandemic

Steve Muratore, publisher of the Arizona Eagletarian is one of more than 1,200 signers of the referenced letter.

Bipartisan Call for Governor Ducey to Protect Constitutional Rights During Ongoing Health Crisis

Over 1,200 Arizona voters signed letter calling for one-time exemption for ballot initiatives

PHOENIX – Over 1,200 Arizona voters signed a letter urging Governor Ducey to grant one-time relief to petition drives disrupted by COVID-19. The signers of this letter were Outlaw Dirty Money volunteers and they are asking Governor Ducey to allow the 280,000 petition signatures collected prior to COVID-19 shutdowns to count toward signatures requirements for the 2022 statewide election. This letter was delivered to Governor Ducey in late May and the campaign has yet to receive a response.
Outlaw Dirty Money paused all person-to-person petition passing in March to help flatten Arizona’s COVID-19 curve. The campaign pledged to continue this pause in person-to-person contact until “until our public health experts and elected officials deem it prudent.”
“Even with the stay-at-home order lifted, it is nearly impossible to maintain social distance while passing a petition,” stated campaign manager Pat Barrett. Arizona law requires a petition passer to physically witness each signature and get completed forms notarized before submission. Barrett continued to state, “an overwhelming majority of our volunteers are retirees and in higher risk categories – we had to listen to public health expert’s recommendations and keep operations on pause as community spread of COVID-19 continues in Arizona.”
“We were on track to qualify for the 2020 ballot as the shutdown began,“ stated campaign consultant Chuck Coughlin. “Businesses and individuals, alike, have received relief from the devastating effects of coronavirus. Over $1.5M has been invested in this campaign. Extending similar measures to ensure Arizonans constitutional rights are protected will be a win-win, protecting constitutional rights and public health at the same time.”
Other Arizona initiative campaigns have unsuccessfully asked the court to allow Arizona residents to sign ballot initiatives online. Currently, Arizona law only allows politicians to collect signatures through the Secretary of State’s secure online portal. 
Terry Goddard, Outlaw Dirty Money campaign co-chair and former Arizona Attorney General, believes that a one-time exemption to allow signatures to remain valid is consistent with Arizona law. “Arizonans are allowed 24-months to circulate a petition before an election,” stated Goddard. “The pandemic created a scenario where our ballot initiative was denied the full 24-months. We respectfully ask that the time we lost due to COVID-19 is put back on the clock at a time that it is safe to return to collecting signatures.”
“We will continue working with elected officials and pursuing all options to ensure that Arizonan’s constitutional rights will be protected during the ongoing health crisis,” stated Chuck Coughlin. “Outlaw Dirty Money’s proposal to allow signatures to remain valid through 2022 is a fair and workable solution.”

About the Initiative
Outlaw Dirty Money establishes that:
  • Arizona voters have a right to know who is spending to influence their elections
  • Organizations spending more than $20,000 in state races or $10,000 in local races must report the original source of their funding.
  • Organizations must disclose all original contributors who gave $5,000 or more in an election cycle.
  • Original source is defined as the person or company that earned the money, thereby removing the existing practice of creating a maze of organizations to hide the original source.
  • The Citizens Clean Election Commission, a popular and effective regulatory body, is empowered to write and enforce the regulations to implement the Outlaw Dirty Money Constitutional Amendment.
  • Voters can file a complaint directly with the Clean Elections Commission to report violations of this.
  • Local governments can pass more stringent requirements than those set forth in this Amendment. 

Contact: Pat Barrett, (480) 937-8835

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