A federal judge on Monday refused Monday to ease the requirement for candidates to get on the ballot, at least for this year. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.
The fight is over a provision of state law which says candidates for statewide office must get signatures on nominating petitions from residents of at least three counties. Cory Langhofer representing the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance charged that violates federal protections. But, Judge Neil Wake said Langhofer waited too long to challenge the requirement for this year’s election — just two weeks before petitions had to be filed on May 29. And, the judge pointed out the multi-county requirement has been on the books since statehood. Langhofer said this is not the end of the legal fight.
“We’re continuing to pursue the lawsuit because the statute is unconstitutional even though the judge said it can be applied in this election cycle,” Langhofer said.
That means trying to overturn the law in time for the 2016 election. Langhofer’s case is based on the fact candidates need to get signatures from half of 1 percent of party registrants in each of three counties.
He said it’s not fair because one signature in Maricopa County equals 1/100th of a percent of the total needed for a Republican contender. But one signature in Greenlee County, with fewer residents — and even fewer Republicans — gets a candidate 5 percent of the total needed there.