With the Public Health Coronavirus Emergency along with the issuance of Governor Ducey’s Stay at Home Proclamation, four citizen initiative campaigns, led by Arizonans for Second Chances, Rehabilitation and Public Safety, Smart & Safe Arizona, Invest in Education, and Save Our Schools Arizona, have petitioned the Arizona State Supreme Court to allow them to collect ballot signatures electronically.
A link to the petition is below.
Petition for Special Action and Appendix (00491627xC217C)
The petitioners are represented by Roopali Desai and Andy Gaona from the Coppersmith Brockelman Law Firm in Phoenix.
In issuing the press statement announcing the petition to the court, Ms. Desai wrote:
“Legal access to E-Qual for these citizen initiatives is the right thing for public health and democracy.”
The statement went further by relaying:
“Following Governor Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order issued Monday and current CDC recommendations, gathering hundreds of thousands of signatures on paper, at people’s homes, or in public spaces, is impossible to do safely and responsibly during this pandemic. E-Qual is a very reasonable remedy.”
Ms. Desai also said, in followup questions that no date has been set yet for the hearing and Attorney General Mark Brnovich would likely be representing the Secretary of State’s office in this matter.
David Lujan, one of the spearheads behind the Invest in Ed initiative said in a phone conversation that he “hopes the court will consider it quickly and favorably.”
Dr. Dawn Penich-Thacker issued a press release for Save Our Schools Arizona which stated in part:
“Since our 2017 formation and success in putting Proposition 305 on the 2018 ballot, Save Our Schools Arizona has believed voters should have a say in how our tax dollars are spent, so this request is in keeping with that belief,” said Save Our Schools Arizona Act chairperson and Arizona mother Raquel Mamani. “We don’t stop caring about our children or give up our Constitutional rights because a global crisis hits our state, and we shouldn’t be forced to do so, especially since there are options like E-Qual already in place that voters could easily use under these extraordinary circumstances.”
The people behind the Citizen’s Initiatives are right in pursuing this in the courts.
This is the Twenty-First Century and people should be able to sign ballot initiative petitions online. If candidates can have people sign their petitions online, why not those for citizen’s initiatives.
Democracy should be able to function at all times, even when there is a Public Health Emergency.
Hopefully, the courts will agree with this, at least during this health crisis.