General Election Guide Stuffed With Voter Opinions

July 10, 2014

When Arizona voters receive their general election voter guide this year, they will see arguments from fellow citizens included in the pamphlet. It has been a long-standing practice in the state to include pro/con arguments by citizens in the general election handbook. It’s a way for Arizona voters to exercise their right to express opinions on ballot measures to be voted on directly by the people.

“I think it all comes down to voter education and helping voters to have as much information as possible as to how they end up choosing to vote,” Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett said.

Bennett explained the practice of including the arguments in the pamphlet is nothing new, but this year officials were surprised by how many entries they received. Voters who submitted arguments had few requirements to meet: Don’t use profanity or defamation, and pay the filing fee.

“What they submit gets printed," Bennett said. "We don’t really have much authority under the law to edit or evaluate how they’ve said what they’ve said. They get to say it the way they want as long as they’ve paid the filing fee.”

Those pamphlets are required by law to be sent to every household with a registered voter. This year, there were 73 arguments for the Arizona State Sovereignty Amendment and 14 for Prop 303, the “Right to Try” initiative.