Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

September 21, 2010


Host: Ted Simons

Proposition 112: Initiative Petitions


  • Proposition 112 would amend the Arizona Constitution to require that initiative petitions be filed at least six months before the date of the election. Right now, the deadline is at least four months before the date of the election. State Representative Chad Campbell will explain Proposition 112.
Guests:
  • Chad Campbell - State Representative
Category: Vote 2010

View Transcript
Ted Simons:
According to the Arizona constitution, initiative petitions must be filed with the secretary of state at least four months before the date of the election. Proposition 112 looks to change that deadline to six months. Tonight we continue our vote 2010 election coverage with proposition 112. Proponents say moving back the deadline allows more time to verify signatures, and it gives the courts time to deal with legal challenges that may arise. We were unable to find any organized opposition to the measure, but here in support of proposition 112 is state representative Chad Campbell. Good to see you again.

Chad Campbell:
Good to see you. Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons:
Why is it important to change this filing date from four to six months?

Chad Campbell:
I think you nailed it on the head. Baically what we're trying to allow county recorders and election officials to have more time to actually get down, verify the signatures and make sure they're legal. And then that in turn offers the ability for citizens and other groups to file any potential lawsuits any challenges to the language or the measure itself and I think one other thing that's not discussed is it also gives voters more time to look at the ballot measure, think about its ramification and make a more, I think, informed vote.

Ted Simons:
It is implicit in that response that voters sometimes don't have either the time or they just don't think about the ramifications?

Chad Campbell:
I think we have a very compressed time frame in Arizona. That four-month window we have is a very short time frame, and when you combine that with our late primaries for candidates, and the sheer number of ballot measures we get on the ballot now in Arizona, it's a lot of information. So I think if you give voters more time they're better served.

Ted Simons:
Is it safe to say this proposition is designed to make it harder to get measures on the ballot?

Chad Campbell:
I don't think so. I've heard that argument from some people, you still have a year and a half basically, to get your signatures turned in and get on the ballot. That is a lot of time. And I think if you're looking at weighing the additional two months you would have as the law stands now, versus more transparency, more effective accountability for the election officials, and more time for the voters to debate the issues, I'm going to side with transparency and the voters every day of the week.

Ted Simons:
So for critics who say it's an attack on the initiative process, you say -- .

Chad Campbell:
It's reforming the process to make it better. And it's providing more transparency, and again, actually will save the taxpayers money because hopefully it will reduce the legal challenges and it gives the county recorder's offices more time to do their job.

Ted Simons:
Are you hearing from county recorder offices? And if, so what are you hearing?

Chad Campbell:
We worked with them and many election officials in crafting this language. I was cosponsor of the bill at the legislature and we worked with many election officials across the state. The secretary of state's office, and other people to make sure this language addressed any potential concerns out there. And I think we came up with the perfect language, it was a bipartisan bill, came out I think unanimously. From both the house and senate.

Ted Simons:
Why now? I hear some saying the voter protection act and so much stuff by way of the initiative process is protected, the legislature can't get their hands on it by initiative, you can't do that, and so this is just a legislature's way of saying we need to get a hold of that money, and let's go ahead and give it a shot.

Chad Campbell:
I think that's a separate issue. I it this reason why this came up is twofold. First, there was an initiative called the O'Connor house project that was started by Sandra Day O'Connor, many of us got involved with that and that is a organization or group of people looking at how to reform Arizona's government, make it more effective, and really modernize our system and make it better for the 21st century. That was one. This is one of the measures that came out of that process. And secondly, we've had a lot of legal challenges to ballot measures over the past several years. The time initiative when governor Napolitano was here was a great example of one, we've had several of them where the signature verification took a long time, came down to the last minute, and people had to get to court because the time line that's in the statutes now, and they didn't have enough time to make sure they were doing the right thing or the wrong thing. And so we really seemed to clear it up and that’s what this bill does.

Ted Simons:
I mentioned the voter protection act because -- and you mentioned it earlier on in a different way in the sense of sometimes folks don't understand the ramifications of what they're voting on. There's a lot of stuff you guys can't handle, can't do much with because it is voter protected.

Chad Campbell:
Yes. And that is something that I will always fight for. I believe in voter protection. We as a legislature should never be overturning the vote of the citizens, and again, I think what this does is actually it make those votes stronger, because this gives the citizens more time to think about what they're voting on. So if you're saying, I'm going to vote yes on a measure now, you've had six solid months to think about it, I think you've had time to make your decision.

Ted Simons:
For the sake of argument, we're going from four to six, why not go to eight?

Chad Campbell:
We went back and forth on how long to get -- how long to push this back for. We were at five months, seven months, six months seemed like the right time for the county recorder's offices to verify the signatures. They told us that would give them the extra time. And again, it's still providing enough time for the citizen groups collecting the signatures to do so and gives them a fair chance to get on the ballot.

Ted Simons:
Six months was actually rejected back in 1984, I know seven months was rejected just five, six years ago. It sounds like voters rejected it pretty soundly both times. Voters don't seem all that hot to this. Why are we doing it again?

Chad Campbell:
I think when those were rejected it what's -- we had a lot less initiatives on the ballot. A lot less efforts out there. We didn't have some of the legal problems we've seen with the court challenges and the ramifications we've had with late verifications of the signatures. So I think we have a very different climate. And I think people know that we have to modernize the system. And I do want to point out, too, one other thing. The way of collecting signatures nowadays, is much more advanced than it was even 10 years ago. And, you know, 2 years, 10 years ago is not the same thing as it is today. We can do a lot of things quicker now in terms of collecting signatures.

Ted Simons:
So for the- and again it sounded like you wanted to keep the initiative process sacred. You want to keep it there, it’s an important part of Arizona’s heritage. And yet at the same time I’m hearing that there are more initiatives on the ballot than there used to be, more measures on the ballot. And we need to watch the ramifications, there’s so many people may not know what they’re voting for. And yet so many times, these are examples of the public saying, you guys aren’t doing the job. And if you’re going to do it, we’re gonna do it for you. Fewer initiatives, is that necessarily a bad thing, a good thing I should say?

Chad Campbell:
It depends. Again, I’m in the minority party I want to point out, down at the capitol. So I don’t really dictate what comes out of the capitol, what doesn’t come out of the capitol a lot of times. This was a bipartisan effort and I was proud to be a part of it. But, you know, I think voters do initiatives, because they see a lack of action on many things that are important to them down at the legislature. Be it education funding, healthcare funding, whatever it may be. And I applaud the citizens when they take this on themselves to go out there and get the job done when the legislature fails. And I hope with other election changes we’ll see a more responsive legislature. Including new districts in 2012.

Ted Simons:
Real quickly are for those who say this is a solution in search of a problem, you say --

Chad Campbell:
No, this is a problem, a real problem, we've seen it over the last few election cycles, we've got to clean this process up. This will do it no cost to the taxpayers, it's clean and simple, a no-brainer, bipartisan solution.

Ted Simons:
Good to have you here. Thanks for joining us.

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