Lawyer Wants May 17 Special Election Pushed To Account For Late Pamphlets

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Tuesday, May 10, 2016 - 9:22am
(Photo courtesy of Arizona Secretary of State)
Arizona Special Election Guide.

A lawyer is asking Attorney General Mark Brnovich to delay the May 17 special election because Secretary of State Michele Reagan failed to meet the deadline for getting publicity pamphlets to voters.

State law requires the secretary of state to prepare a pamphlet ahead of each election with an explanation of each ballot measure as well as pro and con arguments. And it's supposed to be in homes before early ballots arrive. This year, that was April 20th. But more than 200,000 of them did not go out to homes with multiple early voters, meaning about 400,000 people did not get them on time.

Attorney Tom Ryan said Arizona law requires strict compliance with all laws governing matters referred to the ballot. "When you're depriving somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 [people] of their publicity pamphlets in a timely manner before the election process, that is clearly not strict compliance," he said.

The May 17 election has two measures:

  • Proposition 123 puts $3.5 billion into schools over the next decade to settle a lawsuit against the state by schools for failing to comply with laws requiring annual inflation increases in aid.
  • Proposition 124 allows the state to put caps on cost-of-living increases in pensions for police and firefighters.

Reagan blames the problem on an outside vendor whose program for addressing the pamphlets had a glitch. "But, end of the day, this one is definitely on our office," she conceded.

Ryan said he will present his petition to Brnovich on Tuesday.

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