Arizona campaign finance initiative campaign suspends signature gathering

Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, co-chair of the campaign Outlaw Dirty Money, announced that the campaign was suspending signature gathering efforts for its ballot initiative due to the coronavirus pandemic. The campaign needs to gather at least 356,467 signatures by the July 2 deadline.

The ballot initiative would add language to the Arizona Constitution providing people with a right to know the identity of the original source of an aggregate contribution of $5,000 or more used for campaign media spending.

Goddard called on the Arizona State Legislature to allow for signatures to be gathered online. He noted that the legislature had authorized candidates to collect petitions online. Goddard stated, “We’ve got a situation here where they treat themselves royally with access to electronic signatures. But they don’t let anybody else have it. I think that’s fundamentally unfair and perhaps illegal.”

Outlaw Dirty Money was the third ballot initiative campaign to suspend signature gathering in Arizona. The Arizonans for Fair Elections campaign stopped gathering signatures for its ballot initiative to make several changes to the state’s voting and campaign finance policies, including automatic voter registration and decreasing contribution limits. Anabel Maldonado, campaign manager of Arizonans for Fair Elections, said, “In order to keep from risking the health of our circulators and Arizona residents, we suspended both paid and volunteer signature collection late last Tuesday [March 17]. … Our teams are on standby, just in case. Additionally, we are working with our partners to figure out what is the safest way we can organize digitally to help identify our supporters.”

The campaign behind a ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage for nurses, technicians, and other medical staff considered direct care hospital workers also suspended signature gathering on March 15.

Ballotpedia is tracking how changes to ballot measure campaigns, procedures, and policies in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

At least 13 statewide ballot initiative campaigns have suspended or abandoned signature gathering. Three states and D.C. have canceled board meetings, closed offices, delayed petition deadlines, or otherwise changed their procedures or policies on ballot measures.

Sixteen states of the 26 with a process for statewide citizen-initiated measures have signature deadlines between the end of April and early August. This makes the next several months an important time period for the circulation of 2020 initiative and referendum signature petitions.

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Ryan Byrne

Ryan Byrne is a staff writer at Ballotpedia and can be reached at ryan.byrne@ballotpedia.org

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