Secretary of State Completes Preliminary Review of Referendum Petitions

Michele Reagan

On August 8, 2017, Save Our Schools Arizona filed an estimated 9,078 petition sheets containing 111,540 signatures in support of R-02-2018.

The Secretary of State’s Office has completed its preliminary review of referendum petitions in accordance with Arizona law, and has determined that the committee filed 9,291 petition sheets.  Of these, 8,950 petition sheets containing 108,224 signatures remained eligible for random sampling and County Recorder review.

A 5% random sample of these signatures has been sent to the County Recorders for signature verification under Arizona law.  In order for the measure to qualify for the 2018 General Election ballot, the County Recorders must collectively validate at least 3,767 signatures (or 69.6%) from the random sample.

The deadline for County Recorder review is September 11, 2017.

Read more about Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan here.

Arizona sales-tax hike gets shiv on shady iPad contest promoted on Facebook, Twitter

Below is the complaint letter submitted to Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett earlier this week by Tom Jenney of Americans for Prosperity Arizona challenging the legality of initiative petitions turned in by the “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign based on signatures gathered by ‘volunteers’ with the promise of winning an iPad — thereby calling into question any and all of these petitions not disclosing that they were collected by a paid circulator. In the grand scheme of things this complaint likely reveals a small violation that will probably not invalidate enough petitions to drop their signature tally below the number required to earn a spot on November’s ballot.  However, this pattern and practice also reveals another instance where the troubled “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign has played fast-and-loose with the rules regarding gathering signatures… all in service to “The Children”… and government unions and brazen special interests who stand to reap hundreds of millions in government contracts. No wonder it has been thrown off the ballot. Let’s hope an activist judge doesn’t disregard the black-letter of the law and force this massive tax increase onto November’s ballot.  

BONUS: Click here to listen to the initial reaction from top “Quality Education & Jobs” campaign officials (Chairwoman Ann-Eve Petersen, Associated General Contractors honcho David Martin, consultant Joe Yuhas and others) upon learning their campaign’s 290,000 petition signatures are invalid.

June 25, 2012

The Honorable Ken Bennett
Arizona Secretary of State
1700 West Washington Street
Phoenix, Arizona 85007-2888

Dear Secretary Bennett,

On behalf of the 70,000 taxpayers in this state who are members of our organization, the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity wishes to bring to your prompt attention an important matter regarding the potential failure by one or more ballot initiative organizers to fully and properly disclose their use of paid signature petition circulators. 

I-16-2012 has filed for inclusion on the November ballot and signature petitions have been circulated by its initiative supporters for qualification.  This initiative, commonly referred to as “Quality Education and Jobs,” has already submitted petitions to your office for certification.

Based upon the enclosed information, we believe that circulators have been compensated and incentivized with the promise of future compensation for collecting a specific number of signatures on behalf of the initiative.  We believe that repeated solicitations over Facebook and Twitter accounts maintained by initiative organizers, as well as at least one email sent by organizers or on their behalf, clearly demonstrate that the collection of fifteen (15) petition signatures were directly exchanged for “a brand new iPad 3” by at least two individuals.

A.R.S. § 19-118 defines a paid circulator as “…a person who receives monetary or other compensation that is based on the number of signatures obtained on a petition or on the number of petitions circulated that contain signatures.”  Those who satisfy the criteria of paid circulators are required to disclose their paid circulator status by noting the same on the petition.     

Organizers of I-16-2012 have apparently twice awarded an iPad 3, valued at $499, to certain individuals on or about May 11 and June 1.  Although the solicitations characterize the circulators as “volunteers,” the nature of those awards qualifies them as paid circulators by law.

We therefore request that your office immediately investigate this matter to determine whether the actions of the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative organizers constitute a violation of A.R.S. § 19-118 and to take any and all necessary action. 

Furthermore, please accept this letter as a formal complaint with regard to the possibility that the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative organizers may have circulated petitions using ballot language that differed from the official initiative language.  Given the discrepancies uncovered by the Arizona Tax Research Association (please refer to the attached article from the June 22, 2012 issue of the Arizona Capitol Times), we believe that the organizers of the “Quality Education and Jobs” initiative acted in violation of A.R.S. § 19-112, which requires that petition signature sheets be attached “at all times during circulation to a full and correct copy of the title and text of the measure or constitutional amendment proposed or referred by the petition.”

Thank you very much for your consideration of these matters, and for taking the time and effort to provide written responses to these complaints.

For Liberty,

Tom Jenney
Arizona Director
Americans for Prosperity

Obama Law Firm Targets John Huppenthal

Obama Law Firm Targets John Huppenthal

Democrats Appeal To Arizona Supreme Court To Take Conservative Candidate Name Off Arizona Ballot

PHOENIX, ARIZONA. JUNE 23, 2010.  Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, an international law firm that represented the Presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry, has set its litigation gun sights on stopping the people of Arizona from having the opportunity to vote for John Huppenthal in the Republican Primary Election for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Last week,  Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Oberbillig dismissed a Democratic Party lawsuit that sought to have Huppenthal’s name removed from the ballot based on claims the signatures were collected too early.  Judge Oberbillig stated it would be an “extreme remedy” to throw out signatures that everyone agreed were not collected in a fraudulent or irregular way.

Yesterday, the law firm of Perkins Coie Brown & Bain filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court, again seeking to have Huppenthal’s name removed from the Republican Primary Election Ballot.

According to the Wikipedia article on Perkins Coie:

“Perkins Coie is an international law firm based in Seattle, Washington.   …The firm is counsel of record for the Democratic National Committee, and other political clients include nearly all Democratic members of the United States Congress, as well as several Presidential campaigns, including those of John Kerry and Barack Obama. …With its main office located in Seattle, Perkins Coie is the oldest and largest law firm headquartered in the Pacific Northwest.

…In 2009, President Obama appointed Robert Bauer, the Chair of the firm’s Political Law Group, to become his White House Counsel.  … The firm also represents the Democratic Leadership Council, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

Democratic party has a long history of unsuccessful attacks on Huppenthal

The attempt by the Democratic Party to have Huppenthal’s name removed from the ballot by litigation is just the latest in a long history of attacks.

Recently, the Democratic Party attempted to smear Huppenthal by promoting a doctored video that purported to show Huppenthal walking out of an interview with a high school student.  The political dirty trick was exposed when the student journalist spoke out to set the record straight.  An editorial in the Arizona Republic condemned the Democrat’s doctored video in strong language, stating “Sometimes, a lie really is just a lie.

In 2008, the Arizona Democratic Party spent tens of thousands of dollars on independent expenditures that made wild claims about Huppenthal and implied he was responsible for child abductions, cancer-causing toxins, internet sex crimes and the release of violent criminals.  The Democrat’s spending on attack ads failed to produce results,  and Huppenthal went on to defeat the Democratic candidate by more than 15%.

About John Huppenthal

John Huppenthal is one of Arizona’s leading authorities on education issues. In addition to being the current Senate Education Chairman, Huppenthal has served for 17 consecutive years on the State House and State Senate education committees.

Huppenthal’s reputation for making policy based on the best research available is well established. A September 2008 editorial in The Arizona Republic stated:

“…Huppenthal is a veteran of the Legislature, having chaired five committees and being as knowledgeable about the bill-making process as any of his colleagues. He’s a pragmatic conservative who bases his positions on exhaustive research and works across party lines to get worthwhile bills passed. Huppenthal insists that legislation be based on best practices from around the country, and he’s prone to arcane dissertations based on stacks of studies he has compiled as he delves into state and district problems. It’s not sexy stuff but it’s necessary to guide a legislative process too often led astray by raw politics and emotion.”

Senator Huppenthal played a key role in helping create school choice for parents. In 1995, as Senate Education Chairman, his legislation took the caps off charter schools. This legislation moved Arizona to first in the nation in school choice (ALEC rankings). In addition, Congressman Trent Franks named Senator Huppenthal one of three legislators most responsible for creating and expanding tuition tax credits in Arizona.

During Huppenthal’s legislative career he successfully developed and passed over 200 bills – the most of any legislator in Arizona history. A substantial number of those bills were education related. Huppenthal’s efforts resulted in the creation of the Career Ladder program for teachers, improved measures of academic progress, and higher graduation standards. Huppenthal also worked closely with the disabled community to improve opportunities for children with special challenges, including creating a model summer school for children with autism, increasing resources for the blind and deaf, expanding textbook formats to accommodate children with disabilities and reducing mandates on teachers.

Huppenthal has been a leader in adopting performance pay in education. After reviewing over 700 studies and creating new concepts in performance pay, Arizona’s career ladder program has become the only performance pay system in the country resulting in statistically-verifiable academic gains. His legislation resulted in enabling Arizona to be the only state nationally where every teacher has a significant portion of pay dependent upon performance measures (Prop 301 Classroom Site Fund).

In 2010, Senator Huppenthal sponsored and helped pass major education reform legislation. Known as the “Truth in Advertising” bill, SB 1286 improves accountability by requiring the Arizona Department of Education to rate the performance of schools with easily understood letter grades (A, B, C, D or F). The grades will be based upon overall performance and academic gains over time. The “Truth in Advertising” law is modeled after similar reforms in Florida which significantly improved academic achievement.

For more information, please visit www.JohnHuppenthal.com or contact Emily Graham.