Category Archives: Initiatives

Arizona Supreme Court sides with GOP voter suppression of citizens initiatives

While you were distracted by the long Thanksgiving Day holiday weekend, the Arizona Supreme Court finally issued its opinion in the “Outlaw Dirty Money” initiative case. Arizona Supreme Court ruling supports legal tactic used to keep initiatives off ballot:

The Arizona Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of a legal tactic used by those seeking to keep voter-proposed laws off the ballot. [“The only issues we must decide are the constitutionality of §19-118(C) and the propriety of the trial court’s exclusion of the non-appearing subpoenaed circulators’ petition signatures.”]

The Court’s opinion is narrowly tailored. “As our decision does not turn on whether the Committee strictly complied with § 19-118(C), we need not determine the constitutionality of the strict compliance requirement of § 19-102.01(A).” The “strict compliance” constitutional challenge is left to another day.

In a unanimous ruling Wednesday, the justices reaffirmed the right of people to craft initiatives and seek to have them approved.

“And we are reluctant to impede such civic efforts,” they said.

But Justice John Lopez, writing for the court, said there is nothing unduly burdensome about requiring paid circulators to register and provide an address where they can be subpoenaed. Lopez said throwing out the signatures collected by those who don’t show up in court does not impair the constitutional rights of people to propose their own laws.

This is fundamentally anti-democratic, and wrongly decided. The valid signatures of voters who legally signed the petition in good faith are disenfranchised if the circulator cannot be located or fails to appear in court, for any reason. This legal tactic invalidates the otherwise valid signatures of voters given in good faith through no fault of their own.

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If you want to put a citizens initiative on the 2020 ballot, you had better file it by early 2019

Voting rights and electoral issues were on the ballot in 13 states, and voters overwhelmingly supported expanding access to the ballot box. Voting Rights Were The Biggest Winner In The Elections:

One clear winner emerged from last week’s elections: voting.

Voting rights and electoral issues were on the ballot in 13 states, and in almost all of them, voters overwhelmingly supported initiatives that expand access to the ballot box and make the right to vote easier to exercise.

In Colorado, Michigan, and Missouri, ballot initiatives aimed at replacing gerrymandering — the redrawing of legislative districts by political incumbents to strengthen their party’s electoral representation — with nonpartisan methods of redistricting all received more than 60% of the vote. Colorado’s proposal to allow independent commissions to handle redistricting garnered over 70%.

Marylanders turned out in favor of same-day voter registration. Nevadans ushered in “motor voter” automatic registration for those who visit the Department of Motor Vehicles. Floridians, meanwhile, restored the right to vote for 1.4 million released felons(excluding those convicted of murder or sex crimes).

Perhaps the most significant victory for voting rights came in Michigan, where two-thirds of voters adopted Proposal 3. Among other provisions, the new law guarantees same-day voter registration, automatic registration at the DMV, and no-excuse absentee voting. Voting has never been easier in one America’s most important swing states.

This bodes well for the millions of Americans who have expressed a newfound interest in democratic participation in recent years.

In Arizona, the “dark money” forces of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the “Kochtopus” network blocked voters from even considering the Outlaw Dirty Money initiative. Anti-‘dirty money’ initiative knocked off ballot in Arizona, Supreme Court rules.

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Democrats need to start laying the Progressive Foundation for 2020 now.

As other pundits in the national and local media have pointed out, It will be tempting these next several months to focus on the Popular Vote Loser’s (Presidents) tweets, outrageous comments and behavior, and potentially criminal acts that will be adjudicated in the courts.

Now that they will be in control of the House of Representatives, Democrats do have a responsibility to provide oversight of the Executive Branches actions that the Trump (Republican) Party failed to undertake. That is only right and proper.

Democrats and Progressives, in the federal government and in the state government offices they triumphed in, should also take this as an opportunity to advance progressive policies (both incremental and ambitious) that will further attract supporters in the rural, urban, and suburban parts of the country.  They should attempt to create bipartisan consensus with the Trump Party but be prepared to fight for and campaign on what the Trumpists obstruct in the Senate and the Oval Office.

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A Good Beginning Toward Building a Progressive Governing Majority in Arizona

Yesterday was a good beginning toward building a progressive governing majority in Arizona. Democrats appear to  have prevailed in some state house races :

  • Jennifer Jermaine in LD 18
  • Jennifer Pawlik in LD 17
  • Aaron Lieberman in LD 28.

 

Democrats also prevailed in local contests (notably school board) laying the groundwork and foundation for future progressive advances.

Democrats should also take comfort in recruiting many capable and compelling local and congressional candidates who gave Republicans a run for their money and performed well against the odds. Hopefully, many of these candidates will decide to run again.

  • It may take until March but Kate Gallego appears to be the odds-on favorite to be the next Mayor of Phoenix.
  • Jennifer Longdon, a role model for people who can overcome great adversity, coasted to victory as a State Representative in LD 24.
  • Anne Kirkpatrick came back into the political arena to win in Congressional District Two.
  • Former Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton, possibly on a career track to run for Governor in 2022, easily won Congressional District Nine.
  • Kathy Hoffman, who went from political novice to perhaps becoming the next Superintendent of Public Instruction, may be a rising star.
  • The races for Katie Hobbs and Kyrsten Sinema, as of Nov. 7, are still too close to call with up to 500,000 votes in Maricopa County still to be counted.

Youth turnout rose dramatically. Yes, yesterday was a good beginning.

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Democrats arrive late, but ‘blue wave’ momentum is building

Anyone who has ever been active in Democratic Party politics knows that Democrats always arrive late and no event ever starts on time.

After a slow start in early mail-in ballot returns in the first couple of weeks of early voting, for which I chastised you, Democrats finally started showing up late in the final week of early voting. Keep it up through Election Day.

Arizona Democrats have seen a massive surge in early voting over the past week, bolstering predictions for a “blue wave” in Tuesday’s elections. ‘The blue wave is real’: Arizona Democrats see major surge in early voting turnout:

Early ballot returns released Friday [Secretary of State Early Ballot Statistics] show Democrats are on track to narrow the voter-participation gap with Republicans to its lowest level in any midterm election in recent history.

That surge in Democratic participation could help the party flip close races or win contests for the U.S. Senate, secretary of state and superintendent of public instruction.

Democrats had significantly lagged Republicans when early ballot returns started coming in three weeks ago, leading some to speculate that the blue wave had crested.

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But that changed over the past week as Democrats shaved the GOP’s early-vote advantage to less than 8 percentage points. Republicans typically have a 12 percentage-point turnout edge in midterm elections.

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