State Capitol News
11:55 am
Mon January 23, 2012

Candidate Nominating Petitions to Become Available to Sign Online

Sometime in the coming weeks you'll be able to sign nominating petitions for your favorite candidates while still in your pajamas.

Right now there's only one way for a candidate to qualify for the ballot: Get people to sign nominating papers. That often means hanging out in front of the grocery store or going door to door. But a pilot program kicking in this coming month will let registered voters who have an Arizona driver's license log into a special web site and electronically sign a candidate's petition. Secretary of State Ken Bennett acknowledged that technically means anyone who knows a voter's name, driver's license number and date of birth could sign petitions in that person's name.

"But we're also going to monitor IP addresses of computers that are signing on so that we don't see huge number of activity coming from just a few computers," Bennett said.

And Bennett said there are other safeguards, including the ability of any voter to log in to the system and see what petitions he or she has supposedly signed -- and notify the authorities if something is amiss. Bennett said there could be unforeseen problems, which is why this is only a pilot program that will self-destruct in two years, forcing legislators to review it at that time.

"If we can't maintain the security, either for the voters, the candidates, the whatever, then it shouldn't continue or go forward to be expanded for anything else," Bennet said.