Former AG Goddard Says Signatures Collected For Arizona Ballot Initiatives This Year Should Count For 2022

By Scott Bourque
Published: Saturday, June 13, 2020 - 12:20pm
Updated: Monday, June 15, 2020 - 10:05am
Paul Atkinson/KJZZ
Terry Goddard

The COVID-19 pandemic has all but stopped organizers from gathering signatures for initiatives that would otherwise appear on the ballot in November. The deadline to submit these signatures is July 2 — and there’s a good chance that a lot of initiatives will not make the deadline.

That’s why Terry Goddard, the former Democratic state attorney general, is asking Gov. Doug Ducey to allow signatures gathered for this year’s ballot initiatives to count for the 2022 ballot. Some, like the marijuana legalization initiative, have hit that benchmark.

“That would keep the people currently gathering signatures off the street during this time of high danger from COVID-19, I think that sounds like a good idea," Goddard said. "And not having to separate them from their Constitutional rights. Under emergency powers, that the governor’s already exercised, I think he has the full authority to do this.”

Goddard is the chair of the Outlaw Dirty Money Act, which would forbid anonymous political donations. Before the stay-at-home order, it was on track to receive enough signatures to make the November ballot — but now Goddard is concerned it won’t have enough signatures by the July 2 deadline.

For initiatives that would result in statutory changes to state law, organizers need to gather enough signatures to equal 25% of votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election — for 2020 and 2022, that works out to 237,645 signatures. For initiatives that seek to amend the state's constitution, 356,467 signatures are required.

Goddard says he submitted the letter to Ducey on May 29 and is expecting an answer "any time."

"We’re trying to be very respectful, but we think this is an answer that would be a win-win," Goddard said. "It basically protects constitutional rights and also the public health.”

If Ducey fails to act, Goddard says he believes the Republican-controlled State Legislature would approve it.

"The Legislature obviously has the power to grant a one-time exemption," Goddard said. "It would simply be a minor tweak to an existing piece of legislation. Not constitutional, just legislation."