Initiatives with marginal signatures to be placed on ballot

By Linda Bentley | August 13, 2008

County recorders claim not enough time to complete verification prior to ballot printing deadline
PHOENIX – On Monday, Secretary of State Jan Brewer provided an update on the qualification of the statewide ballot initiatives submitted.

Proposition 203, the TIME (Transportation and Infrastructure Moving Arizona’s Economy) Initiative, and Proposition 101, Medical Choice for Arizona, lacked the minimum number (153,365) of valid signatures to make the ballot.

Proposition 203 would have asked voters to increase the state sales tax by one cent (17.8 percent) for thirty years to raise $42.6 billion to build new roads and rail, including the CANAMEX corridor.

However, late Monday, the TIME Political Action Committee issued a press release stating it would pursue its legal options to reinstate petition signatures counted as invalid by the secretary of state and Maricopa County.

The PAC stated last week alone it identified thousands of signatures “erroneously counted as invalid by the secretary of state.”

David Martin, co-chair of the TIME PAC said, “Our campaign is preparing legal action to fight for the thousands of Arizona citizens whose voices were inappropriately stifled by the process this year. Based on the evidence of inaccurate counting we have seen, we fully expect to be on the ballot in November.”

Two initiatives, Proposition 100, Protect Our Homes, which would prohibit the government from charging any new tax on the sale or transfer of real estate in Arizona, and Proposition 201, the Homeowners Bill of Rights, which would require a 10-year warranty for all new homes, were still too close to call but are projected to have between 95 percent and 105 percent of signatures required to get on the ballot.

However, after several counties notified Brewer’s office they would be unable to complete the signature verification process in time to make the ballot printing deadline, Brewer announced she would abide by legal counsel and prior court precedent, requiring she certify those measures for the ballot.

Brewer said she always believed if a citizen’s initiative is turned in with less than the number of signatures required by law it was to be disqualified, stating, according to our legal system, “I guess 98 percent means 100 percent.”

The status of three other ballot initiatives that have not yet been determined include Proposition 103, Conserving Arizona’s Water and Land, which would permanently conserve approximate 580,000 acres of state land; Proposition 104, the Arizona Civil Rights Initiative, which would amend the state Constitution to prohibit preferential treatment or discrimination by state government, universities, state colleges, community colleges, school districts, counties and local governments based on race, sex, color, ethnicity or national origin in the operation of public employment, education or contracting; and Proposition 105, Majority Rules – Let the People Decide, which would require any initiative imposing additional taxes or spending must be supported by a majority of qualified electors rather than a simple majority of the qualified electors that turned out for an election.”

Other initiatives certified for the ballot include:
• Proposition 102, Marriage, amending the Arizona Constitution to limit the definition of marriage as between one man and one woman.
• Proposition 200, Payday Loan Reform Act, by enacting dramatic pro-consumer reforms, substantial rate cuts and elimination of rolling over principal to extend the loan, in order to preserve this type of financial option that will otherwise be eliminated.
• Proposition 202, Stop Illegal Hiring, to eliminate the E-verify requirement of the employer sanctions law for determining employment eligibility and return to the fraud-riddled I-9 verification program.
• Proposition 300, State Legislators’ Salaries, a recommendation by the Commission on Salaries for Elective State Officers to increase legislator salaries to $30,000.