Lawsuit to challenge the initiative to bankrupt the City of Tucson

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Qualified Tucson electors Yolanda Parker, John Springer, Jr., and Chris Anderson have filed a challenge to the sufficiency of the initiative petition filed by the Committee for Sustainable Retirement, the local front group for ballot initiative activist Paul Jacob and the
Liberty Initiative Fund, with additional financial support from the National Taxpayers Union. Petitioners are represented by the law firm Coppersmith, Schermer & Brockelman, PLC.

A copy of the pleadings are
Here, excluding attached exhibits.

The complaint for injunctive and mandamus relief pursuant to A.R.S. §§19-122(C) challenges the petition signature sheets submitted by by the Committee for Sustainable Retirement and counted by the statutory defendants, including the City Clerk for the City of Tucson.

The complaint alleges that the Defendants illegally accepted petition signature sheets and counted the signatures thereon that:

(1) were circulated by persons who are not qualified to register as electors in the state of Arizona;

(2) were circulated by persons who have not registered as out-of-state circulators with the Arizona Secretary of State prior to circulating petition sheets as required by A.R.S. §19-122(C);

(3) petition signature sheets were improperly notarized and contained circulator affidavits that pre-dated the dates the electors signed the petitions;

(4) petition signatures lacked information required by statute, or were rendered void because the circulator filled in or supplemented information on the petition.

The complaint alleges that 10,222 signatures verified by the City Clerk are invalid as a result, leaving the intitiative proponents 5,284 signatures short of the 12,730 valid signatures required to be placed on the ballot. (The City Clerk only rejected five signature pages for errors). "Hundreds of signature pages and thousands of individual signatures should have been rejected by the City Clerk."

The complaint alleges upon information and belief that several of the petition circulators were not eligible to register as electors in the state of Arizona because they are convicted felons and their civil rights have not been restored. A total of 6,713 signatures collected by these individuals are therefore invalid.

The complaint alleges upon information and belief that several of the petition circulators were out-of-state residents who did not register with the Arizona Secretary of State prior to collecting signatures. (One was also a convicted felon). A total of 2,847 signatures collected by these individuals are therefore invalid.

The complaint alleges that in every case the petition came with a pre-printed date of May 30, 2013 for the signature of the circulator on the affidavit. This date pre-dates the dates of all the signatures of the electors on the petitions, rendering all of the petitions void.

The complaint alleges that several of the circulator affidavits are incomplete or defectively notarized. A total of 86 signaturesare void because of the incomplete notarization.

The complaint alleges that a number of the elector signatures are not eligible for verification because the elector did not provide complete information, or the petition circulator filled in the missing information rendering them defective. 30 signatures were defective due to the eelctor, and 546 signatures were defective due to the petition circulator.

In total, 10,222 signatures were "improperly verified by the defendants." This leaves only 7,446 valid signatures, far short of the 12,730 valid signatures needed to qualify for the ballot.

If the Court accepts the argument regarding the pre-printed affidavits that pre-date the dates of all the signatures of the electors on the petitions, then "all of the petitions should have been excluded for this reason."

The matter is scheduled to be heard on August 2 in Pima County Superior Court.

Petitioners counsels are going to have to prove that the individuals they name are convicted felons whose civil rights have not been restored and are not eligible to be registered electors in Arizona.

Let this be an object lesson for those of you who are collecting signatures for the referendum (citizens veto) of the Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305. One of the things the act does is impose the "strict compliance" standard of review on the courts in reviewing petitions. The pre-printed affidavits that pre-date the dates of all the signatures of the electors on the petitions would be a killer under the "strict compliance" standard of review.

The court in this case, however, is going to apply the "substantial compliance" standard of review, which may obviate the technical errors if substantial compliance can be shown.

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