REFERENCE TITLE: initiatives; circulators; signature collection; contests
State of Arizona
House of Representatives
First Regular Session
Amending title 19, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 19‑102.01; amending sections 19‑111 19‑111.01, 19‑117 and 19‑118, Arizona Revised Statutes; amending title 19, chapter 1, article 2, Arizona Revised Statutes, by adding section 19-118.01; amending sections 19‑121, 19-121.01 and 19‑122, Arizona Revised Statutes; relating to initiatives and referenda.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Title 19, chapter 1, article 1, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 19‑102.01, to read:
19-102.01. Legislative findings and intent; strict compliance
The legislature recognizes that statewide initiative measures enact broad and sweeping changes to the laws of this state that, unlike laws passed by the representatives of the people, can only be amended or changed pursuant to Article IV, part 1, section 1, Constitution of Arizona, and therefore finds and determines that strict compliance with the constitutional and statutory requirements for the initiative process and in the application and enforcement of those requirements provides the surest method for safeguarding the integrity and accuracy of the initiative process. Therefore, the legislature finds and declares its intent that the constitutional and statutory requirements for initiative measures be strictly construed and that persons using the initiative process strictly comply with those statutory requirements.
Sec. 2. Section 19-111, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
19-111. Number for petition; training materials
A. A person or organization intending to propose a law or constitutional amendment by initiative petition or to file a referendum petition against a measure, item, section or part of a measure, before causing the petition to be printed and circulated, shall file the following with the secretary of state:
1. An application, on a form to be provided by the secretary of state, setting forth the person's name or, if an organization, its name and the names and titles of its officers, the person's or organization's address, the person's or organization's intention to circulate and file a petition, a description of no more than one hundred words of the principal provisions of the proposed law, constitutional amendment or measure and the text of the proposed law, constitutional amendment or measure to be initiated or referred in no less than eight point type, and applying for issuance of an official serial number.
2. At the same time as the person or organization files its application, the person or organization shall file with the secretary of state its statement of organization as prescribed by section 16-906. The secretary of state shall not accept an application for initiative or referendum without an accompanying statement of organization as prescribed by this subsection paragraph.
3. For statewide initiative or referendum petitions that use paid circulators, the person or organization shall file with the secretary of state before obtaining signatures with paid circulators:
(a) a signed and notarized affidavit declaring the following:
(i) One or more persons will be paid money or other compensation to collect petition signatures and those persons will comply with all state laws relating to elections and initiative and referendum.
(ii) The person or organization is liable for any violations committed by the paid circulators who collect signatures on behalf of the person or organization and the person or organization may be subject to a civil penalty as prescribed in subsection F of this section.
(b) Evidence of a surety bond in a form acceptable to the secretary of state that is executed by the person or organization as principal and that is subject to claims against the person or organization for violations prescribed in subsection F of this section. The bond shall be CONTINUOUS in form, remain in effect while obtaining signatures with paid circulators and be in the minimum amount as follows:
estimated paid signatures Minimum BOND
not more than 25,000...................... $10,000
25,001 to 75,000.......................... $25,000
75,001 to 125,000......................... $35,000
125,001 or more........................... $50,000
B. On receipt of the application, the secretary of state shall assign an official serial number to the petition, which number shall appear in the lower right‑hand corner of each side of each copy thereof, and issue that number to the applicant. The secretary of state shall assign numbers to petitions in numerical sequence, and a record shall be maintained in the secretary of state's office of each application received and of the numbers assigned and issued to the applicant.
C. The secretary of state shall make available to each applicant by electronic means a copy of the text of this article governing the initiative and referendum and all rules adopted by the secretary of state pursuant to this title. The secretary of state shall make available by electronic means a copy of the text of this article governing the initiative and referendum and all rules adopted by the secretary of state pursuant to this title to the county, city and town clerks who shall similarly furnish a copy to each applicant by electronic means. If a member of the public so requests, the secretary of state and the county, city and town clerks shall provide a copy in pamphlet form.
D. The secretary of state shall make available to each person or organization circulating a statewide initiative, referendum or recall petition a copy of circulator training materials and information on the online circulator training class created by the secretary of state. Circulator training materials may be provided on paper or in electronic format and shall also be available on the secretary of state's website. A person or organization circulating a statewide initiative or referendum petition that uses paid circulators shall provide each paid circulator with the secretary of state's circulator training materials and shall collect and submit to the secretary of state each of its circulators' training materials receipts before the filing of completed petitions. Each person who is a statewide circulator information on the online circulator training class. Each paid circulator shall acknowledge in writing receipt of the training materials before circulating a petition for signatures. Failure to provide circulator training materials or failure to submit circulators' training materials receipts is not grounds for removal of signatures or signature sheets completion of the online circulator training class when registering as a paid circulator pursuant to section 19‑118. Notwithstanding section 19‑141, this subsection does not apply to initiative, referendum or recall petitions for cities, towns and counties.
E. The eight point eight‑point type required by subsection A of this section shall not apply to maps, charts or other graphics.
F. For statewide initiative and referendum petitions only, if a court determines that a paid circulator has committed a civil or criminal violation relating to the registration, circulation or collection of signatures or petitions pursuant to this title on behalf of a person or organization that is circulating a statewide initiative or referendum petition, any violation by the paid circulator is deemed a violation by the person or organization and the person or organization is liable for a civil penalty of not to exceed ten thousand dollars for each violation by the paid circulator.
Sec. 3. Section 19‑111.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
19-111.01. Text review; legislative council; recommendations
A. At any time before filing an application for initiative petition or referendum petition and after filing a statement of organization pursuant to section 16‑906, a political committee that intends to submit after a person or organization submits an application for initiative petition or referendum petition for a proposed law or constitutional amendment, a political committee that intends to support the measure or a political committee that intends to oppose the measure may submit a copy of the text of the proposed law, referral or constitutional amendment to the director of the legislative council.
B. No later than thirty days after receipt of the text of the measure, the legislative council staff shall review the proposed measure. The legislative council staff shall limit its consideration to errors in the drafting of the measure, confusing, conflicting or inconsistent provisions within the measure and conflicts with other state laws and federal law and shall consider and may prepare recommendations to improve the text of the proposed measure.
C. The person or organization proposing the law or constitutional amendment may accept, modify or reject any recommendations made by the legislative council staff regarding the text of the measure solely in its discretion.
Sec. 4. Section 19-117, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
19-117. Initiative and referendum petition; changes; applicability
A. Notwithstanding any other law Except as provided in subsection B of this section, any change in the law or procedure adopted by a governing body with respect to circulation or filing of an initiative or referendum petition after an initiative or referendum petition application is filed pursuant to section 19‑111 does not apply to the initiative or referendum petition.
B. Any change in the law or procedure adopted by a governing body with respect to the employment, use or registration of paid circulators applies to any statewide initiative or referendum petition filed pursuant to this title.
Sec. 5. Section 19-118, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
19-118. Registered circulators; requirements; fund; violation; classification; definition
A. All circulators who are not residents of this state and, For statewide ballot initiative and referendum measures only, all paid circulators must register as circulators with the secretary of state before circulating petitions pursuant to this title. The paid circulator shall pay a registration fee as determined by the secretary of state that shall be deposited in the initiative and referendum integrity fund established by subsection I of this section. The political committee that person who is circulating the petition shall collect and submit the registrations completed registration application to the secretary of state. The secretary of state shall establish in the instructions and procedures manual issued pursuant to section 16‑452 a procedure for registering circulators, including a circulator registration application, and shall publish on a website maintained by the secretary of state all information regarding circulators that is required pursuant to this section. The secretary of state shall disqualify all signatures collected by a circulator who fails to register pursuant to this subsection as provided for in section 19‑121.01, subsection A.
B. The circulator registration application required by subsection A of this section shall include the following provisions:
1. The paid circulator's full name.
2. A copy of a valid driver license, state-issued identification card, United States passport, military identification card or United States citizenship certificate with a photo.
3. If the paid circulator has been convicted of a criminal offense involving fraud, forgery or identity theft, the year and state in which the conviction occurred.
4. A list of the initiative and referendum petitions on which the paid circulator will gather signatures.
1. 5. A statement that the paid circulator consents to the jurisdiction of the courts of this state in resolving any disputes concerning the circulation of petitions by that circulator.
2. 6. The circulator shall designate an address of each committee in this state for which the paid circulator is gathering signatures and at which the paid circulator will accept service of process related to disputes concerning circulation of that paid circulator's petitions. Service of process is effected under this section paragraph by delivering a copy of the subpoena to that person individually, or by leaving a copy of the subpoena at the address designated by the paid circulator with a person of suitable age or by mailing a copy of the subpoena to the committee by certified mail to the address provided.
7. Proof that the paid circulator completed the online circulator training class prescribed by section 19‑111.
8. A copy of a local and national criminal background check that was completed within the immediately preceding twelve months and that includes a search of a multijurisdiction criminal records locator or similar, validated commercial nationwide database that identifies felony convictions.
9. The signature of the paid circulator and the chairman or treasurer of each committee for which the paid circulator will gather signatures with a declaration on the form that reads:
The paid circulator has read and understands Arizona law applicable to the collection of signatures for state initiative and referendum petitions, and the committee acknowledges that it is liable for violations of law or rules committed by the paid circulator while collecting signatures on behalf of the committee pursuant to section 19-111, Arizona Revised Statutes.
C. Within five business days after submission of a complete and correct circulator registration form that complies with this section, the secretary of state shall register and assign the paid circulator a paid circulator registration number.
D. A person who is registered as a paid circulator may amend the person's registration to add or remove any initiative or referendum petitions. If the paid circulator is adding a petition to the circulator registration form, the amended form shall include the signature of the paid circulator and the chairman or treasurer of the committee for which the paid circulator will gather signatures.
E. A person may not register as a paid circulator pursuant to this section if the person:
1. Has been convicted of a criminal offense involving fraud, forgery or identity theft in any state within the last five years.
2. Has had a civil or criminal penalty imposed for a violation of title 16 or this title within the last five years.
3. Has been convicted of a felony and has not had the person's civil rights restored as required by law.
C. F. If a registered circulator is properly served with a subpoena to provide evidence in an action regarding circulation of petitions and fails to appear or produce documents as provided for in the subpoena, all signatures collected by that circulator are deemed invalid. The party serving the subpoena may request an order from the court directing the secretary of state to remove any signatures collected by the circulator as provided for in section 19‑121.01, subsection A.
D. g. Any person may challenge the lawful registration of circulators in the superior court of the county in which the circulator is registered. A challenge may not be commenced more than five ten business days after the final date on which the petitions for which the circulator is required to be registered are filed with the secretary of state as prescribed by section 19‑121, subsection E. The person challenging signatures may amend that complaint after the secretary of state has removed signatures and signature sheets as prescribed in section 19‑121.01. An action pursuant to this section shall be advanced on the calendar and decided by the court as soon as possible. Either party may appeal to the supreme court within five calendar days after entry of judgment. The prevailing party in an action to challenge the registration of a circulator under this section is entitled to reasonable attorney fees.
E. H. The removal or disqualification of any one or more circulators does not invalidate the random sample of signatures made pursuant to section 19‑121.01, and the secretary of state shall not be required to conduct any additional random sampling of signatures.
I. The initiative and referendum integrity fund is established in the office of the secretary of state and is administered by the secretary of state. All monies collected from paid circulator applications shall be deposited in the fund. The secretary of state shall use monies in the fund to carry out the duties related to the initiative and referendum process as prescribed by this chapter.
J. A person who knowingly omits or misrepresents information or provides false information on the circulator registration form or who registers in violation of subsection E of this section is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor.
F. K. For the purposes of this title, "paid circulator":
1. Means a natural person who receives monetary or other compensation that is based on the number of signatures obtained on a petition or on the number of petitions circulated that contain signatures to obtain signatures on a statewide initiative or referendum petition.
2. Does not include a paid employee of any political committee organized pursuant to title 16, chapter 6, unless that employee's primary responsibility is circulating petitions to obtain signatures.
Sec. 6. Title 19, chapter 1, article 2, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended by adding section 19-118.01, to read:
19-118.01. Signature collection; prohibited payments; violation; classification
A. A person shall not pay or receive money or any other thing of value based on the number of signatures collected on a statewide initiative or referendum petition. This section does not prohibit payment for signature collection that is not directly or indirectly based on the number of signatures obtained.
Sec. 7. Section 19-121, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
19-121. Signature sheets; petitions; form; procedure for filing
A. Signature sheets filed shall:
1. Be in the form prescribed by law.
2. Have printed in their lower right‑hand corner, on each side of such sheets, the official serial number assigned to the petition by the secretary of state and, if applicable, the registration number assigned to the paid circulator.
3. Be attached to a full and correct copy of the title and text of the measure, or amendment to the constitution, proposed or referred by the petition.
4. Be printed in at least eight‑point type.
5. Be printed in black ink on white or recycled white pages fourteen inches in width by eight and one‑half inches in length, with a margin of at least one‑half inch at the top and one‑fourth inch at the bottom of each page. Notwithstanding this subsection paragraph, the secretary of state may prescribe an alternative page width and length in the election instructions and procedures manual adopted pursuant to section 16‑452.
B. For the purposes of this chapter and except as prescribed by subsection C of this section, a petition is filed when the petition sheets are tendered to the secretary of state, who shall issue a receipt based on an estimate made to the secretary of state of the purported number of sheets and signatures filed. A receipt may be electronically issued. After the issuance of the receipt, no additional petition sheets may be accepted for filing.
C. For statewide petitions for initiative measures only, the committee that is the proponent of the initiative shall file with the secretary of state on the fifteenth day of each month all signatures collected in the immediately preceding calendar month by paid circulators who are required to register pursuant to section 19-118. If the filing date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or other legal holiday, the petitions shall be filed on the next business day. The secretary of state shall hold all petitions filed pursuant to this subsection and shall issue a receipt based on an estimate made to the secretary of state of the purported number of sheets and signatures filed. On receipt of the signature sheets, The secretary of state may begin the review and removal of signatures and sheets pursuant to section 19‑121.01, subsection A. The secretary of state shall make available electronic copies of all filed signatures within five business days after filing.
C. D. Petitions may be filed with the secretary of state in numbered sections for convenience in handling. The secretary of state may prescribe the method of filing, including electronic filing. Not more than fifteen signatures on one sheet shall be counted. For petitions filed regarding statewide initiatives and city, town or county matters, the political committee that is the proponent of the petition and that files the petitions shall organize the signature sheets and group them by circulator and is solely responsible for compliance with this subsection. The local filing officer may return as unfiled any signature sheets that are not so organized and grouped.
D. E. Initiative petitions that have not been filed with the secretary of state as of 5:00 p.m. on the day required by the constitution before the ensuing general election after their issuance shall be null and void, but in no event shall the secretary of state accept an initiative petition that was issued for circulation more than twenty‑four months before the general election at which the measure is to be included on the ballot. Within five business days after the filing date prescribed by this subsection, the secretary of state shall make available on request electronic copies of all signature sheets filed.
E. F. For the purposes of this article and article 4 of this chapter, the measure to be attached to the petition as enacted by the legislative body of an incorporated city, town or county means the adopted ordinance or resolution signed by the mayor or the chairman of the board of supervisors, as appropriate, and signed by the clerk of the municipality or the clerk of the board, as appropriate, or, in the absence of a written ordinance or resolution, that portion of the minutes of the legislative body that is approved by the governing body and filed with the clerk of the governing body and that reflects the action taken by that body when adopting the measure. In the case of zoning measures, the measure shall also include a legal description of the property and any amendments made to the ordinance by the legislative body.
Sec. 8. Section 19-121.01, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
19-121.01. Secretary of state; removal of petition and ineligible signatures; random sample; signature sheet transfer; presumption
A. Within twenty days, excluding Saturdays, Sundays and other legal holidays, after the date of filing of an initiative or referendum petition and issuance of the receipt, the secretary of state shall:
1. Remove the following:
(a) Those sheets not attached to a copy of the complete title and text of the measure as prescribed in this chapter.
(b) The copy of the title and text from the remaining petition sheets.
(c) Those sheets not bearing the correct petition serial number in the lower right‑hand corner of each side.
(d) Those sheets containing a circulator's affidavit that is not completed or signed or that has been modified.
(e) Those sheets on which the affidavit of the circulator is not notarized, the notary's signature is missing, the notary's commission has expired or the notary's seal is not affixed.
(f) Those sheets on which the signatures of the circulator or the notary are dated earlier than the dates on which the electors signed the face of the petition sheet.
(g) Those sheets that are circulated by a circulator who is prohibited from participating in any election, initiative, referendum or recall campaign pursuant to section 19‑119.01.
(h) Those sheets on which the circulator is required to be registered with the secretary of state pursuant to section 19‑118 and the circulator is not properly registered at the time the petitions were circulated.
(i) Those sheets on statewide measures that are circulated using paid circulators and that are dated earlier than the affidavit submitted pursuant to section 19-111.
(j) Those sheets on statewide initiatives that are not properly submitted and sorted pursuant to section 19-121.
2. After completing the steps in paragraph 1 of this subsection, review each sheet to determine the county of the majority of the signers and shall:
(a) Place a three or four letter abbreviation designating that county on the face of the petition.
(b) Remove all signatures of those not in the county of the majority on each sheet by placing an adjacent mark or striking through the signature line.
(c) Cause all signature sheets to be grouped together by county of registration of the majority of those signing. The detached copies of the title and text of the measure shall be made available to the applicant but may be disposed of after a reasonable period of time.
3. After completing the steps in paragraph 2 of this subsection, remove the following signatures that are not eligible for verification by placing an adjacent mark or striking through the signature line:
(a) If the signature of the qualified elector is missing.
(b) If the residence address or the description of residence location is missing.
(c) If the date on which the petitioner signed is missing, if the date on which the petitioner signed the petition is before the date that the serial number was assigned to the political committee that is filing the petition or if the date on which the petitioner signed the petition is after the date on which the affidavit was completed by the circulator and notarized.
(d) Signatures in excess of the fifteen signatures permitted per petition.
(e) Signatures withdrawn pursuant to section 19‑113.
(f) Signatures for which the secretary of state determines that the petition circulator has printed the elector's first and last names or other information in violation of section 19‑112.
4. After the removal of petition sheets and signatures, count the number of signatures for verification on the remaining petition sheets and note that number on the face of each petition sheet.
5. Number the remaining petition sheets that were not previously removed and that contain signatures eligible for verification in consecutive order on the front side of each petition sheet.
6. Count all remaining petition sheets and signatures not previously removed and notify the applicant of this total number eligible for verification.
B. If the total number of signatures for verification as determined pursuant to subsection A, paragraph 6 of this section equals or exceeds the constitutional minimum, during the same twenty day period provided in subsection A of this section, the secretary of state shall select, at random, five percent of the total signatures eligible for verification by the county recorders of the counties in which the persons signing the petition claim to be qualified electors. The random sample of signatures to be verified shall be drawn in such a manner that every signature eligible for verification has an equal chance of being included in the sample. The random sample produced shall identify each signature selected by petition page and line number. The signatures selected shall be marked in a clear manner.
C. If a signature line selected for the random sample is found to be blank or was removed from the verification process pursuant to subsection A of this section then the next line down, even if that requires going to the next petition sheet in sequence, on which an eligible signature appears shall be selected as a substitute if that line has not already been selected for the random sample. If the next eligible line is already being used in the random sample, the secretary of state shall proceed back up the page from the signature line originally selected for the random sample to the next previous signature line eligible for verification. If that line is already being used in the random sample, the secretary of state shall continue moving down the page or to the next page from the line originally selected for the random sample and shall select the next eligible signature as its substitute for the random sample. The secretary of state shall use this process of alternately moving forward and backward until a signature eligible for verification and not already included in the random sample can be selected and substituted.
D. After the selection of the random sample and the marking of the signatures selected on the petition sheets pursuant to subsection B of this section, the secretary of state shall transmit a copy of the front of each signature sheet on which a signature included in the random sample appears. The secretary of state shall clearly identify those signatures marked for verification and shall transmit by personal delivery, certified mail, electronic mail e‑mail or other electronic transfer method to each county recorder a copy of each signature sheet on which a signature appears of any individual who claims to be a qualified elector of that county and whose signature was selected for verification as part of the random sample.
E. The secretary of state shall presume that the date noted on the petition for a petitioner's signature is the date on which the petitioner signed the petition, and any person seeking to establish a different date for the signature bears the burden of proof in overcoming the presumption.
F. The secretary of state shall retain an electronic copy of all signature sheets except as otherwise prescribed in this title. After the time period for legal challenges has elapsed, the original sheets shall be made available to the applicant but may be disposed of after a reasonable period of time.
Sec. 9. Section 19-122, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
19-122. Refusal of secretary of state to file petition or transmit facsimiles of signature sheets or affidavits of circulators; writ of mandamus; venue
A. If the secretary of state refuses to accept and file a petition for the initiative or referendum, or proposal for a constitutional amendment that has been presented within the time prescribed, or if the secretary of state refuses to transmit the facsimiles of a signature sheet or sheets or affidavits of circulators to the county recorders for certification under section 19‑121.01, the secretary of state shall provide the person who submitted the petition, proposal, signature sheet or affidavit with a written statement of the reason for the refusal. Within five calendar days after the refusal any citizen may apply to the superior court for a writ of mandamus to compel the secretary of state to file the petition or proposal or transmit the facsimiles, or for matters involving statewide initiatives or referenda or proposed constitutional amendments, the citizen may file a complaint with the county attorney or attorney general. The county attorney or attorney general may apply, within five calendar days after the complaint is made, to the superior court for a writ of mandamus to compel the secretary of state to file the petition or proposal or transmit the facsimiles. The action shall be advanced on the calendar and heard and decided by the court as soon as possible. Either party may appeal to the supreme court within five calendar days after entry of judgment by the superior court. The decision of the superior court may be stayed as prescribed by rules adopted by the supreme court. If the court finds that the petition is legally sufficient, the secretary of state shall then file it, with a certified copy of the judgment attached as of the date on which it was originally offered for filing in the secretary of state's office.
B. The most current version of the general county register statewide voter registration database at the time of filing a court action challenging an initiative or referendum petition shall constitute the official record to be used to determine on a prima facie basis by the challenger that the signer of a petition was not registered to vote at the address given on the date of signing the petition. If the address of the signer given on the date of signing the petition is different from that on the most current version of the general county register, the county recorder shall examine the version of the general county register that was current on the date the signer signed the petition to determine the validity of the signature and to determine whether the person was eligible to sign the petition at the time of signing. This subsection does not preclude introducing into evidence a certified copy of the affidavit of registration of any signer dated before the signing of the petition if the affidavit is in the possession of the county recorder but has not yet been filed in the general county register.
C. An action that contests the validity of an initiative or referendum measure based on the actions of the secretary of state or compliance with this chapter by any person may not be maintained in any court in this state except as prescribed by this section. A Any person may not maintain a separate action seeking may contest the validity of an initiative or referendum. If multiple actions are filed that contest the validity of an initiative or referendum, including actions filed pursuant to subsection A of this section, the separate actions shall be consolidated before the appropriate venue pursuant to subsection D of this section. In addition to contesting the validity of an initiative or referendum, any person may seek to enjoin the secretary of state or other officer from certifying or printing the official ballot for the election that will include the proposed initiative or referendum measure and any request to enjoin the certification or printing of the ballot shall be made as a part of an action filed pursuant to subsection A of this section.
D. The superior court in Maricopa county shall have jurisdiction of actions relating to measures and amendments to be submitted to the electors of the state at large. With respect to actions relating to local and special measures for a county, special district or school district, the superior court in the county in which the district is located shall have jurisdiction. With respect to actions relating to local or special measures for a city or town, the superior court in the county in which the majority of the population of that city or town resides shall have jurisdiction.
Sec. 10. Severability
If a provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the act that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end the provisions of this act are severable.