As we come down to the wire on signature gathering, the Arizona Fair Elections Act is moving steadily toward the November ballot thanks to the work of many hundreds of volunteers and paid circulators throughout the state.
“I have been continually impressed with the dedication, commitment and hard work of all of the volunteers of southern Arizona,” said Betsy Boggia, our Tucson-based organizer. “While I am in touch with many who are regularly gathering signatures at favorite locations like libraries, farmer’s markets, or scheduled events, what really amazes me are the unknown volunteers. These are people who I have never met or spoken with, who have heard about the AZ Fair Elections initiative, have gotten hold of petitions and are gathering signatures all on their own. They canvass family and friends, neighbors and communities and regularly turn in notarized petitions which is when I see the names of these somewhat anonymous canvassers who are nonetheless making a huge difference in this effort.
“We have had many successful events, and have many more signing and petition turn-in events planned for the coming weeks where I hope to see many of our regular volunteers. But, I will forever be grateful to those who have worked somewhat anonymously through their own motivation and belief in the importance of this initiative. I want to say thank you to all our volunteers who have given their time so generously, and who believe wholeheartedly in protecting voting rights for all.”
Betsy has three counterparts in the Phoenix area and a fifth person for Northern Arizona.
The Arizona Fair Elections Act blocks the Legislature’s many attempts at voter suppression, gives Arizona one of the best voting laws in the United States and protects voting rights into the future. The alternative to the Fair Elections Act is a mishmash of Legislative proposals ranging from doing away with mail-in ballots to just letting the Legislature pick the winners of elections.
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In addition to volunteer circulators, the paid circulator portion of the program is doing excellent work, continuing to ramp up the number of signatures collected every day. In addition to the mainstay Fieldworks, a number of other firms have been brought in for the final push.
We need 237,000 valid signatures by July 7. Since the petitions have to be validated, sorted and organized into boxes for delivery to the state Capital in Phoenix, we are pushing to complete signature collection by June 30.
Volunteer signatures are the most valuable because it is harder for the opposition to get rid of them using abusive procedural tactics in court. Opposition lawyers routinely subpoena all paid circulators and throw out their petitions if they do not show up. (Our Initiative, once enacted in the November election, does away with this abusive practice.)
The Arizona Democratic Party helped us recently to send a petition to every precinct committee person in the state as we go into the final three weeks of the campaign. The post office decided the envelopes had to be treated as parcels rather than “flats” and volunteers were concerned about the extra postage this required. Fortunately, we are able to find money for essential things like postage.
We have regular events on the Navajo Nation where voting rights are of great concern. When the 14th Amendment was enacted in the 1860s, black men were allowed to vote. Arizona kept Natives from voting until the 1940s by claiming they did not qualify as “persons” under the 14th Amendment. It stings. The regular Navajo events are at the Chapter House in Tuba City, and at the flea markets at Tuba City, Kayenta and Chinle. They are supported by frequent broadcasts on Navajo Radio KTNN. Petitions will also be available at a Navajo Voters Coalition gathering this Friday at the Twin Arrows Casino near Flagstaff.
My wife and I sent postcards to 2,000 Democrats and progressive Independents in our tiny community of Pinetop-Lakeside for a signing event in the park on June 24. Events are being held across southern Arizona in places like Rio Rico, Tubac and Patagonia as well as places elsewhere in the state like Winslow, Show Low, Yuma, Flagstaff and Prescott. There are many events in Phoenix and Tucson. You can find them on our website AZFairElections.org.
If you would like to volunteer, please reach out to us at secure.everyaction.com/... , . If you would like to contribute, we could use the help at ActBlue
Notaries are stepping up all across the state to pitch in their time and skills to help with the turn-in effort to get the volunteer's petitions ready for counting. “Every notary I've talked to has been willing to be added to the map (even those who are out of state right now have helped me find notaries in hard to reach places like Debbie Broome in AZ City/Casa Grande). Marshall Militano in Glendale, Cindy Hans in Chandler, and Katie Maass in Tucson will invite you to their home to notarize petitions, said Dlyn, one of our volunteer coordinators. “Paul Weich in Tempe/Ahwatukee, Terry Goddard with Stop Dark Money in Phoenix and Amanda with Healthcare Rising in Tucson have opened their offices for volunteers to get their petitions notarized. We even have people who have offered to be roaming notaries that will meet with you at a convenient location when you’re ready to notarize petitions! All these helpful notaries and more can be found on AZFairElections.org at AZFE.org/depots .”
If you are a notary who would like to support Arizona becoming the premier voting rights state, leading the nation in ensuring our freedom to vote, please call or text Dlyn at 520 261 8686.
If you would like to help, please contribute at ActBlue or mail a check to Arizona Deserves Better, c/o Eric Kramer, 1910 Douglas Fir Dr., Pinetop, AZ 85935. To volunteer, go to secure.everyaction.com/... , .
We finally have organized opposition, some right-wing off-brand version of AARP. They don’t favor healthcare for old people, but want more oil drilling. It makes me suspicious of who their funders might be.
We are heading for the finish line with other initiatives likely to make the ballot. Healthcare Rising has the Predatory Debt Collection Protection Act, which prohibits abuse practices by debt collectors. And Stop Dark Money requires disclosure of the source of all political contributions.