Citizens Referendum to block the Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

If you have vacation plans in in July and August, you should consider rescheduling. Get a good pair of shoes and a hat, and stock up on water and sun block. It is time for you to fight for voting rights in Arizona.

It is going to take every man and woman who honors the brave sacrifice of those who marched and died for your right to vote to go to work to make this citizens referendum happen. “We shall overcome.”


Arm in arm, Martin Luther King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, leading the voting rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Ala., March 1965. (Credit: William Lovelace—Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Election bill foes join forces, eye referendum:

There’s plenty for a broad array of opponents to hate in an omnibus election bill passed at the end of the session, and a diverse coalition is now banding together for a probable citizen referendum drive against HB2305.

Democrats and Latino activist groups oppose a provision making it illegal for campaigns or political organizations to collect voters’ early ballots, as well as a provision intended to purge the Permanent Early Voting List of people who don’t actually use their early ballots. Libertarians and Greens are worried about dramatically increased signature requirements that they say will make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for most of their candidates to get on the ballot.

Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix, said it is a near-certainty that the coalition of HB2305 opponents will file a referendum.

“We have our shoes on. All we need to do is tie the laces and we are moving forward,” Gallardo said. “The chances of this happening are pretty much there.”
Arizona Libertarian Party Chairman Warren Severin said the decision is essentially a done deal.

“There will be a referendum on this,” Severin said.

Referring a law to the ballot through the citizen referendum process is a daunting task, especially during the hot summer months. Organizers must collect 86,405 signatures by Sept. 12, which puts the bill on the November 2014 ballot and delays its implementation unless and until voters approve it.

Adding to the challenge is the short time frame in which organizers have to gather signatures. Two weeks after the Legislature adjourned sine die, when the 90-day window to collect signatures began, organizers still hadn’t filed paperwork for their referendum. Members of the coalition said they expected to file paperwork in the first few days of July.

Getting more than 120,000 signatures — ballot measure campaigns typically need far more than the minimum in order to compensate for invalid signatures — in such a short amount of time will likely require significant financial resources. People familiar with the initiative and referendum process say the group will likely need between $300,000 and $500,000.

Gallardo said the money will be there and that the group has received financial commitments from supporters. He wouldn’t identify the groups that have pledged contributions, but said he expects a coalition of labor organizations, civil rights groups and other advocacy groups to support the effort.

* * *

Barry Hess, communications director for the Arizona Libertarian Party, said the Libertarian Party will put whatever financial and organizational resources it can into the referendum as well.

* * *

Others have pledged to commit volunteers to help collect signatures. Arizona Democratic Party executive director D.J. Quinlan said the party is unlikely to commit many financial resources, but can put organizational resources into the effort.

“I’m sure our PCs (precinct committeemen) and our activists would be very much mobilized behind gathering signatures,” Quinlan said.

And the League of Women Voters of Arizona plans to put volunteers in the field to collect signatures as well.

Despite the difficulties they face in referring HB2305 to the
ballot, opponents of the bill are confident. Even some of the bill’s
supporters, such as Gov. Jan Brewer, who signed the legislation,
believe opponents can succeed in getting enough signatures.

Only you and your commitment to voting rights for all Americans can make this happen. It’s time to go to work.


  1. Also opposing the Voter Suppression Act are Unions (IBEW, CWA, and Teamsters), The Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter, and even the Animal Defense League of Arizona. Excessive heat warning or not, time to organize and hit the streets!