Cross-County Campaign Signatures Challenged In Lawsuit

By  KJZZ News
May 19, 2014

A new federal court lawsuit could change the way candidates obtain the signatures they need to get on the ballot in Arizona.

Right now, candidates must get a minimum number of signatures based on the number of voters registered in their parties and obtain the signatures of one-half of one-percent of party registrants in each of three Arizona counties.

Attorney Kory Langhofer claims that requirement is a violation of the federal constitution because it effectively gives voters in smaller counties greater power to decide who gets on the ballot.

“A huge percentage of the campaigns go to the small, outlying counties — Graham, Greenlee, Santa Cruz — to satisfy these requirements,” Langhofer said.

He says that’s because a signature in Maricopa County will get you one one-hundredth of the way to your goal, while one in Graham County could make up 5 percent of the total.

But Secretary of State Ken Bennett defends the requirement, saying it’s appropriate to ensure a candidate has at least minimal support outside their home territory. A hearing on the issue is set for the end of this month.