Time for another referendum (citizens veto) of GOP voter suppression – HB 2407


ArizonaIn 2013, Arizonans rose up in righteous indignation against the GOP Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305, and qualified a citizens referendum (citizens veto) for the 2014 ballot. In 2014, Tea-Publicans repealed HB 2305 before voters could have the opportunity to vote on it and to make the rejection of the legislature’s action permanent under the Voter protection Act, itself a form of voter suppression.

In 2015, Tea-Publicans returned with a piecemeal attempt to enact HB 2305 as a package of separate bills to make it harder for the citizens of Arizona to pursue a citizens referendum of their voter suppression efforts. Some of those bills didn’t make it (they will be back next year) and others did.

One GOP Voter Suppression bill that passed and that has now been signed by Gov. Doug Ducey is HB 2407 (.pdf), which now makes it much more difficult and expensive for Arizona citizens to exercise their constitutional right to citizens initiatives, referendums and recall. Tea-Publicans are now imposing the “strict compliance” with statutory requirements for referendums to initiatives and recalls as well.

What this means is that petitions can be disqualified for hyper-technical deficiencies such as typographical errors, typeset, line spacing and margins, a missing serial number, incomplete voter information (such as date of signature), an error in the affidavit of signature gatherer or notary public, etc. Despite your best good faith efforts to comply with all the rules, the Secretary of State is now empowered to disqualify petition sheets for such hyper-technical deficiencies.

This is the moral equivalent of voter suppression in the Jim Crow South in which an African-American citizen would be asked how many bubbles are in a bar of soap, or how many beans are in a jar before they could register to vote. Oops! Sorry, wrong answer. Thanks for playing.

Since statehood, Arizona courts have followed the substantial compliance doctrine for citizens initiatives and recalls, erring in favor of Arizona citizens exercising their constitutional right to enact laws of their own or to remove an elected official from office. HB 2407 ends over a century of legal precedent.

This Tea-Publican attempt to suppress the constitutional rights of Arizona citizens to citizens initiatives and recalls should not be allowed to stand.

It is time for the coalition of voting rights organizations that came together to qualify a referendum for HB 2305 for the ballot in 2013 to come together again and to refer HB 2407 to the ballot in 2016.

Gov. Ducey signed the bill on Monday. The clock is now ticking on the deadline to file.


  1. For decades nitpicking technicalities have been the stock in trade for liberal lawyers in filing lawsuits against laws they didn’t like. Now that the same standard is being used in a way you don’t like, you squeal like a stuck pig. The truth is that these initiatives are laws in making and the standards for creating them should be tighter than they were. Care should be taken in preparing them and the signatures gathered need to comply with rules for collecting them. If the people are truly “rising up in indignation” that shouldn’t be a problem. The truth is you want a sloppy easy system to ram things through because you can’t get your people elected.

    • Clearly you are too ignorant to tell the difference between the law sought by an initiative, and the petition signature sheets which are to be subjected to the “nitpicking techincalities,” as you call it. The Arizona Courts since the founding of statehood have sided with substantial compliance to effectuate citizens’ constitutional rights to initiative, referendum and recall. It was your Teabagger friends who got a pass in 2010, when they qualified a measure to prohibit the state from imposing universal health care, Prop. 106, even though 22 names in question had either the wrong or incomplete date on which each person signed the petitions. The judge said the evidence — including the dates on adjacent signatures — proved the petitions were signed on a certain date.

      Prop. 106 was later struck down by the 9th Circuit by the “librul” lawyers you disdain. https://blogforarizona.net/9th-circuit-court-of-appeals-strikes-down-the-kochtopus-anti-obamacare-prop-106/

      • I know the difference. I was just pointing out that “nitpicking details” (your words, not mine) are the very essence of lawsuits filed by liberal lawyers. You don’t mind that “standard” being applied except when it goes against you.

        Sounds like the Judge was too expansive in allowing the signatures on the sheets to pass muster. And as far as the 9th Circuit Court – the most liberal court in the nation – shooting down a conservative initiative, well, that is hardly a surprise.

  2. I read through HB 2407. These people are evil. I think this falls along the lines of an unconstitutional restriction of the voter’s right under the Arizona constitution to the Initiative process. Furthermore they apply manyof the same restrictions to city and county referendums and to the collection of signatures for candidates. Evil.

  3. Why do Republicans in this State hate their citizens? They truly want to be a one party Putinesque dictatorship. No dissent, no questioning, because gave us his ideas personally.

    • It comes down to ideology. It is the pure madness on which historical dictatorships have been founded upon. Nobody who falls in line with the ideology cares because all things must adhere to the ideology. It does not matter if science points to the effects of global warming, ideology states that this does not happen. It does not matter that cities want to reduce pollution and waste for the future by taxing plastic bags, ideology states there is no pollution so this must not happen. It does not matter that certain economic policies are a failure, they will succeed because our ideology states that it will. It does not matter that the current powers pervert the constitution, it is for the sake of the ideology.

      There is no logic or middle road anymore. The opposition must be silenced and not speak ideas that fall outside the belief system. Eventually, once the powers that be (Koch brothers and corporations) wield all of the power and the 1st amendment is a thing of the past they will come for all their guns too. But that will be okay, because the ideology says there is no longer a perceived threat. This is how it has been in the past and a scary road we are going down today.

      • Whoa! AV, cool those hysterical rockets of yours, no one is on the road to a dictatorship. You talk as if the current dominant political philosophy is going to be in place forever, which is ridiculous. These things ebb and flow over time. That is the beauty of the system we have. No one stays on top forever, nor do we develop dictators. So set your hyperbole aside and communicate your positions in manner that doesn’t make you sound like far left wing nutcase, and you might move the cycle along a little quicker. Keep ranting your extremist bilge and the only ones who will listen are like thinking nutcases.

        • Steve, seriously, who elected you Grand Exalted Tone Nanny of Blog for Arizona? No one. Tone trolling is rude.

          • Sometimes people get carried away in a silly, hyperbolic and hysterical fashion that is worthy of comment, if only for the humorous elements of it. I am sorry you consider it rude because that is not my intention.

            In this particular case, I was actually trying to encourage the gentleman not to despair. Things will eventually change around to his liking. No dictatorship is in the offing so he shouldn’t worry so much.

    • Please they are dangerous little tyrants that will not be happy until they subjugate all of Arizona.

      • Do you really live in fear of being “subjugated”? What form will that “subjugation” take? Do you understand how ourpolitical system works?

    • The Republicans don’t hate the citizens of Arizona, you are just paranoid. The truth is they have a political philosophy that is different from yours and you don’t like it. Unfortunately for you, the majority of Arizonans happen to agree with them and not you.

        • I don’t subscribe to anything close to that. I think every ballot should be counted. And I think every ballot should cast by a legal citizen residing in the State of Arizona.

          • Your implication is that “illegals” are voting in Arizona elections –WRONG. The Arizona Republic has debunked this right-wing conspiracy theory http://www.azcentral.com/news/politics/articles/20131105arizona-immigrant-vote-fraud-rare.html:

            An examination of voter-fraud cases in Maricopa County shows those involving illegal immigrants are nearly non-existent, and have been since before the changes to voter-ID requirements were enacted in 2004.

            In response to an Arizona Republic records request, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office provided a list of 21 criminal cases since January 2005 in which the suspect was charged with a felony related to voter fraud. A search of court records found 13 other cases.

            Of the 34 Maricopa County cases, two of the suspects were in the country illegally and 12 were not citizens but living in the U.S. legally, court records showed. One of the suspect’s legal-residency status was unclear from the records.

            The non-citizens came from around the world — Indonesia, Canada, Mexico, Yugoslavia, the Philippines and Thailand. Most had been living legally in the U.S. for decades. Several stated in court documents that they thought they were permitted to vote because they were legal permanent residents of the United States.

            None was convicted of a felony or given any jail time. A couple of the cases were dismissed; the other suspects pleaded guilty to misdemeanors and served a few months of probation.

            Eighteen of the cases involved convicted felons who had lost the right to vote. In several of the cases, the felons told the court no one had ever explained to them that they no longer could vote even after serving their time. One said he was sent an early ballot in the mail and thought he was permitted to vote.

          • I don’t feel reassured because the Arizona Republic wrote an article about it. If it isn’t a problem, that is wonderful, but it also makes me wonder why there is such a hue and cry over double checking to make certain it isn’t a problem. Especially in light of the Presidents action to increase the numbers of illegal immigrants residing here. Given that they will hold a special status, they might well decide they have special privileges…such as the right to vote.

Comments are closed.