Phoenix, AZ – The state constitution says initiative petitions must be filed
four months before the general election. That now means early
July. Proposition 112 would set the deadline two months earlier.
Eric Ehst, who led a successful 2004 campaign to kill a similar
measure, said the civic groups who fought that one are ambivalent
about this year's plan. On one hand, he said the change would
give county officials more time to check the signatures or courts
to review challenges.
(So there's good reason for moving the filing deadline. But on
the other side, it makes it harder for grass-roots groups to get
something on the ballot. It just moves the requirements more
towards those who've got big bucks.)
That is because of having two months less to gather the necessary
signatures. And there are a lot required -- more than 150,000 to
propose a new law and 230,000 for a constitutional change. He
said moving that deadline is just another hurdle for groups that
don't have the money to hire paid circulators. That hurdle is
real: Virtually every measure that has qualified for the ballot
in the last three decades has been with circulators who get money
for every valid signature they get, a practice that is legal in
this state. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.