The Success of Props 129 and 132 Is a Positive Step for the Future of Arizona

The Success of Props 129 and 132 Is a Positive Step for the Future of Arizona

Not every outcome of November’s frustrating and poorly run election was a disaster. While Maricopa County certainly dropped the ball, and we await the results of any lawsuits and investigations, voters passed some important initiative reforms.

One of those came from Proposition 129, which earned 55 percent of the vote. This measure amends the Arizona Constitution to limit ballot initiatives to a single subject. It also requires the subject to be included in the title of the measure.

The passing of Prop 129 is critical because for years, out-of-state special interest groups have made it a habit to shove multiple provisions on many different subjects into their ballot initiatives. That would often lead to confusion for voters who didn’t always understand what exactly they were voting for or against. And it would put voters in the difficult position to vote on the entirety of an initiative even though they may support some parts of it and oppose others. Now, with the single subject rule, ballot initiatives will have the same requirement for bills to pass the state legislature. And voters will gain some much-needed clarity when they cast their vote.

But Prop 129 wasn’t the only important initiative reform to pass in this November’s election. In a big win for taxpayers across the state, Arizona voters also passed Prop 132. This measure requires a 60 percent majority vote of the people on any ballot measure that seeks to raise your taxes.

Requiring broader support like this puts a check on out-of-state special interests who want to increase Arizona’s taxes to fund their schemes. After all, just look what they tried to do with Prop 208 back in 2020. This disastrous piece of legislation passed with only 51% of the vote and would have made Arizona a high tax state had it not been for litigation challenging the constitutionality of the plan killing it once and for all. Now, any measure aimed to raise your taxes will require a super majority, just like it does at our state legislature. And Arizonans can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that it won’t be so easy to take more money out of their wallets.

Of course, the big loser in all of this is out-of-state special interests, who spent millions in an effort to defeat Props 129 and 132. In fact, one group that called themselves Will of the People Arizona, was so concerned with stopping these initiatives that it raised and spent around $2 million to defeat Prop 132 alone. Of course, they didn’t bother to tell voters that only $33 from their massive fundraising haul came from people who actually live in Arizona. The overwhelming majority of their cash came from unions and liberal groups residing in California and Washington, D.C.

But this time, the people of Arizona saw through the lies. They passed Props 129 and 132, which should help stop groups in others states from bringing their radical ideas to Arizona’s ballots. And that is a significant step to protect the future of our state.

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Maricopa County’s Only ‘Remarkable Effort’ Was to Disenfranchise Voters

Maricopa County’s Only ‘Remarkable Effort’ Was to Disenfranchise Voters

Maricopa County dropped the ball. They botched the election, and there is simply no way for politicians to gaslight their way out of it. After years of fearmongering from the media and the left that election integrity measures would suppress and disenfranchise voters, it turns out no one suppresses and disenfranchises voters quite like politicians and bureaucrats in Maricopa County.

Rather than taking accountability for their failures, they have rubbed their incompetence in the faces of frustrated voters, smugly downplaying their failure and patting themselves on the back, asserting that they made a “remarkable effort.”

All eyes were on this election. Everyone knew it would be contentious, that key races would be close, and that record levels of Republican voters would show up to vote in-person on election day. Given this, one would think election officials would go above and beyond to ensure every minute detail was ironed out so that the election process was beyond reproach.

Instead, within minutes of polls opening at 6 am, reports were coming in that tabulators were not accepting ballots. Quickly, the number of impacted voting centers grew to more than 60 out of the 223 that were open. And of the 95 voting centers that were open only on election day, nearly half were impacted.

It took seven hours for the County to figure out what was going on – that the printers weren’t printing correctly. Then it took another five and a half hours (just 30 minutes before the polls closed) to get every location back up and running. Oh yes, that’s remarkable – remarkably bad.

It wasn’t just long lines—though undoubtedly some voters just gave up and went home instead of dealing with the mess Maricopa County created. The biggest injustice was the actual disenfranchisement of voters.

Here’s how that happened. A voter signed into a voting center and filled out their ballot, but the tabulator couldn’t read it. They were told by official poll workers that they can either place it in “Door 3” and trust that the County will securely deliver it downtown later that night and accurately tabulate it, or they can spoil their ballot and go to another voting center with tabulators that actually work.

If they went with the latter option, as some did, they spoiled their ballot and walked out of the voting center. But when they arrived at the next one, they were told they had already voted, because they were never signed out of the first location. So, they were then told to cast a provisional ballot.

However, that ballot can’t be counted, and it wasn’t counted, because a provisional ballot is only counted if the person hasn’t already voted. Because of this, as soon as they left the first location, they were doomed, and they were disenfranchised.

We don’t yet know how many voters were stripped of their vote in this way. It could be hundreds, or it could be thousands. What we do know is that it’s impossible for the numbers to reconcile now.

Maricopa County has attempted to redirect blame by saying they provided a “Door 3” option, but they botched that as well. In at least two voting centers, they mixed the “Door 3” ballots that had not been tabulated with the ballots that had been tabulated. That meant retabulating all of the ballots from those locations, and then backing out the numbers from the original tally.

And as for those voters that were assured their “Door 3” ballots would be the first to be counted? Well, it wasn’t until Monday the 21st of November, 13 days after the election, that all election day ballots were finally counted.

Maricopa County’s catastrophic failure has only solidified the lack of trust in our election system. And all of this in the backdrop of a Recorder who just last year started his own PAC to campaign against candidates running in elections he oversees (a clear conflict of interest). A Recorder who donated to far-left political causes. And a Recorder who, just when early ballots were being mailed out by his office, illegally placed the thumb of government on the scale to campaign against commonsense voter ID requirements with taxpayer resources.

All of this could have been avoided if Maricopa County was serious about running a smooth election. The County could have implemented on-site tabulation for early ballots to help get results on election night. They could have tested the tabulators. They could have tested the printers. And they could have spent a little less time speaking from their Misinformation Board, hosting press conferences, and trolling people on Twitter and a little more time preparing for the election. Instead, voters were disenfranchised, and once again, Maricopa County became the laughingstock of the country.

Assuming this was gross negligence on the part of Maricopa County (and not intentional sabotage), the voters are entitled to a full investigation and a contest of the election. The Attorney General appears to have initiated an investigation, and we do anticipate litigation by some of the candidates that will force the County into court in the next couple of weeks. Make no mistake, the actions being taken by the AG and pending litigation would not be possible without the thousands of Arizona voters who reached out to the campaigns and law enforcement about their eyewitness accounts and experiences on election day. To those that stepped up to tell their stories, we thank you.

Also, there are efforts to protest the election results or to call for a “redo” of the election through some form of legislative action or by preventing certification, but the reality is that the only place that redress can be achieved is through the courts. We understand that awaiting legal remedies is frustrating, but that is the only mechanism in place under state law and the constitution for contesting election results or to challenge the illegal activities that occurred on election day.

Coinciding with litigation and a potential AG investigation, a statewide recount is set to begin in at least two races, one of which—the Attorney General race—includes candidates who are separated by 500 votes. The outcome in these close races will likely hinge on what is uncovered and discovered through litigation. And with it, hopefully some remedy will be provided for the disenfranchised voters on election day.

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Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Full List of Endorsed Candidates and Positions on Eight Ballot Measures

Arizona Free Enterprise Club’s Full List of Endorsed Candidates and Positions on Eight Ballot Measures

Election Day is just a few days away. As you prepare, below is a full list of Free Enterprise Club endorsed candidates and our positions on eight of the ballot measures.

Statewide

GovernorSecretary of StateAttorney GeneralTreasurer
Kari LakeMark FinchemAbe HamadehKimberly Yee
    
Superintendent of Public InstructionCorporation Commission (vote for 2)
Tom HorneNick Myers
Kevin Thompson

Federal

US SenateCD1CD2CD3CD4
Blake MastersDavid SchweikertEli CraneJeff ZinkKelly Cooper
     
CD5CD6CD7CD8CD9
Andy BiggsJuan CiscomaniLuis PozzoloDebbie LeskoPaul Gosar

Arizona State House

LD1LD2LD3LD4LD5
Selina BlissChristian LamarAlex KolodinMatt GressJennifer Treadwell
Quang NguyenJoseph ChaplikMaria Syms
LD7LD8LD9LD10LD11
David MarshallCaden DarrowKathy PearceBarbara ParkerTatiana Peña
Mary Ann MendozaJustin Heap
LD12LD13LD14LD15LD16
Terry RoeLiz HarrisTravis GranthamJacqueline ParkerRob Hudelson
Jim ChastonJulie WilloughbyLaurin HendrixNeal Carter
LD17LD19LD21LD23LD25
Cory McGarrGail GriffinDeborah McEwenMichele PeñaMichael Carbone
Rachel JonesLupe DiazTim Dunn
LD27LD28LD29LD30
Kevin PayneBeverly PingerelliSteve MontenegroJohn Gillette
Ben TomaAustin SmithLeo Biasiucci

Arizona State Senate

LD1LD2LD3LD4LD7
Ken BennettSteve KaiserJohn KavanaghNancy BartoWendy Rogers
     
LD8LD9LD10LD13LD14
Roxana HolzapfelRobert ScantleburyDavid FarnsworthJD MesnardWarren Petersen
     
LD15LD17LD22 (Write-In)LD23LD27
Jake HoffmanJustine WadsackSteve RobinsonGary SnyderAnthony Kern
LD29   
Janae Shamp

County

Maricopa County Attorney
Rachel Mitchell

Local City and Town Council

Gilbert Town CouncilPhoenix City Council District 6
Bobbi BuchliSam Stone

School Board

Cave CreekChandlerDeer ValleyFountain HillsGilbert
Jackie UlmerKurt RohrsPaul CarverLibby SettleChad Thompson
 Charlotte GollaTony BouieMadicyn Reid 
     
HigleyKyreneMesaParadise ValleyRoosevelt
Anna Van HoekKristi OhmanRachel WaldenSandra ChristensenJoseph Dailey
Roy Morales Ed SteeleLisa Farr 
   Eddy Jackson 
    
ScottsdaleVailEVIT – District 5DysartPeoria
Amy CarneyAnastasia TsatsakisCien Hyatt LukeJennifer DrakeHeather Rooks
Carine WernerLeroy Smith Dawn DensmoreDevon Updegraff-Day
Prescott
Linda Conn (2-year term)
Michele Hamer (4-year term)

Judicial Retention

Arizona Supreme CourtMaricopa County Superior CourtCourt of Appeals Division I
Hon. James P. BeeneHon. Bradley AstrowskyHon. Cynthia J. Bailey
Hon. William G. MontgomeryHon. Alison S. Bachus 
 Hon. Robert I. Brooks 
 Hon. Rusty D. Crandell 
 Hon. Jennifer Green 
 Hon. Michael J. Herrod 
 Hon. Joseph S. Kiefer 
 Hon. Susanna C. Pineda 
 Hon. Michael Z. Rassas 
 Hon. Tracey Westerhausen 
 Hon. Cassie Woo 

Ballot Measures

Vote YESProposition 128Proposition 129Proposition 132Proposition 309
Vote NOProposition 209Proposition 211Proposition 308Proposition 310

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Mesa Residents Should Reject Props 476 and 477 to Protect Their Hard-Earned Dollars

Mesa Residents Should Reject Props 476 and 477 to Protect Their Hard-Earned Dollars

Right now, public unions are trying to fleece the taxpayers of Mesa. In addition to the dozens of candidates, judicial retention decisions, and statewide propositions, voters in Mesa will also decide on two amendments to their city Charter that will result in a shakedown of taxpayers and would insulate politicians from accountability.

The first, Prop 476, would give Mesa Unions special access to leverage for taxpayer-funded benefits behind closed doors. The other, Prop 477, removes accountability for wasteful spending, allowing unelected bureaucrats to spend money without council approval and letting elected politicians off the hook.

Vote NO on Prop 476

The city of Mesa used to engage in a process known as “meet and confer” with public labor unions. This process requires city bureaucrats to “discuss” wages, benefits, and time off with union bosses. In reality, it is a way to bamboozle the city and fleece the taxpayers with millions in wasteful spending.

The “meet and confer” process requires the city to meet with unions in “good faith.” So, if the city doesn’t kowtow to the demands of the taxpayer-funded union bosses, they can threaten to sue the city for not engaging in good faith, resulting in costly litigation. In other words, good faith simply means the union bosses get what they want.

Thankfully, Mesa backed off and ended this crummy practice in 2017 when the Goldwater Institute informed them that it violated their Charter. Now, just five years later, the unions are coming back, trying to convince Mesa voters to amend the Charter to permanently allow them to negotiate these backroom deals with city bureaucrats that will cost taxpayers millions.

There’s a reason Mesa’s Charter currently prohibits it—and why neighboring towns like Gilbert prohibited it in 2014—to protect taxpayers and to prevent the city from becoming the next Phoenix with its $3.4 billion in pension debt.

Vote NO on Prop 477

Then there is Prop 477, also amending the city Charter, to allow unelected bureaucrats to spend thousands of taxpayer dollars without ever getting approval from the city council. Currently, city bureaucrats are limited to $25,000 in purchases without council approval. Prop 477 rips off that guardrail and allows the council to raise the cap however high it wants.

Just look to California, where the Westminster City Manager hired a consultant costing taxpayers $6,400 a month, which was below his purchasing limit of $175,000. The city council was never consulted and found out about the deal two months after the contract had been signed.

Prop 477 opens the floodgates for bureaucrats to spend in the dark, allowing politicians off the hook to wash their hands of unpopular purchases and preventing voters from reining in wasteful spending.

Propositions 476 and 477 are about empowering big unions and unelected bureaucrats to conduct more of the city’s business in the dark and out of the sight of taxpayers and their elected representatives.  Residents of Mesa should resoundingly reject both to protect their hard-earned dollars and retain their power to hold politicians accountable at the ballot box.

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Big Spending from Out-Of-State Special Interests Shows Exactly Why Arizona Needs Props 129 and 132

Big Spending from Out-Of-State Special Interests Shows Exactly Why Arizona Needs Props 129 and 132

When groups outside of Arizona have more interest in stopping an initiative reform than groups inside Arizona, that should tell you everything you need to know. And so it is with Will of the People Arizona, a group so concerned with our state that it raised nearly $325,000 in the third quarter of 2022.

That’s impressive, isn’t it? But do you know what’s even more impressive? Only $33 of the money raised by Will of the People came directly from people who actually live in Arizona!

You read that right…$33.

Despite its claim at the bottom of its website that only 20 percent of contributions are “coming from out of state,” the group received 11 payments from the Washington, D.C.-based The Fairness Project totaling more than $254,000. In addition, $70,000 came from the Berkeley-based Every Single Vote, and another D.C.-based group called Ballot Initiative Strategy Center contributed $326.11.

That’s well over 99% of the contributions to Will of the People Arizona coming from groups based in California and D.C. whose primary goal is to ensure our state is susceptible to their big money power plays. Specifically, these groups are trying to stop good initiatives like Props 129 and 132 which are designed to stop these out-of-state special interests from pumping money into Arizona to buy their way onto the ballot.  

Currently, in the ballot initiative process, there is a lack of a single subject rule. This often gets exploited by out-of-state groups that want to shove multiple provisions on many different subjects into their ballot initiatives. Prop 129 would require ballot initiatives to pertain to a single subject, which is the same requirement for bills to pass the state legislature.

But stopping Prop 129 isn’t the only target of their big spending.

Prop 132 would require any new tax or tax increase on the ballot to receive at least 60% of the vote to pass. This is a critical initiative in this year’s election. Allowing 51% of the population (which may not have to pay the tax increase) to vote to tax the other 49% is wrong. We saw this most recently with Prop 208 back in 2020. This disastrous piece of legislation, which was pushed by out-of-state special interest groups, passed with only 51% of people voting for it. Had it not been for the court system killing Prop 208 once and for all, Arizona would right now be a high tax state.

The fact that Will of the People—or should we say “Will of Out-Of-State Unions and Special Interests”—is willing to spend big dollars to stop Props 129 and 132 proves exactly why Arizona needs these important initiatives.

It’s time to stop groups in California, Washington, D.C., or any other state from bringing their radical ideas to Arizona’s ballots. As you vote in this November’s election, protect your wallet, our state’s economy, and the future of Arizona by voting YES on Props 129 and 132.

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Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s Efforts to Misinform Voters on Prop 309 Must Be Investigated

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer’s Efforts to Misinform Voters on Prop 309 Must Be Investigated

Every voter should be required to provide identification before casting a ballot. It’s the bedrock of secure elections and ensures it is both easy to vote and hard to cheat. But in Arizona, some in-person voters can present two non-photo documents in place of a photo ID, and for the millions of Arizonans who choose the convenience of voting by mail, only a signature is required.

The fact is we currently treat different types of voters disparately—not all voters are showing ID. That’s why Prop 309 is critical. It creates universal voter ID requirements so that valid ID is required no matter when, where, or how we vote, meaning all voters will be treated equally and all will show ID. Plus, Prop 309 waives the fee for a state issued photo ID.

If that sounds like a no-brainer, that’s because it is.

But recently, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer waged a political campaign against Prop 309, illegally using his office and taxpayer resources to misinform voters and influence the outcome of the election. Not only was he wrong in violating election law to publicize his personal position, but he also deceitfully implied that the other 14 county recorders all agree with him. They do not.

Richer argues that Prop 309 will lead to hundreds of thousands of “false positives,” or lawful ballots being rejected. But he fails to take into account the existing, generous five-day cure period after the election for early ballots. That cure period remains in place under Prop 309, so if there is any issue with a lawful voter’s ballot, it can be corrected and counted.

Next, Richer argues that Prop 309 will delay results, largely due to the hundreds of thousands of early ballots that are dropped off on election day. But the objective numbers required by Prop 309 would be far more easily and quickly matched with numbers in the voter’s file than trying to subjectively determine that two signatures were made by the same person some decades apart from each other.

Further, the same legislature that referred Prop 309 to the ballot also enacted SB1362, which allows counties to tabulate the hundreds of thousands of early ballots brought on election day on-site after the voter shows valid ID. Richer decided not to implement it, denying a new option to voters and greater access to the ballot box which also would have helped secure results on election night.

Finally, Richer argues Prop 309 will jeopardize voter privacy. But this ignores the fact that Prop 309 requires a privacy flap or outer envelope to conceal the voter’s information. And it ignores the fact that every piece of identification required by Prop 309 is routinely entrusted to the mail system.

Do you have a driver’s license? It was likely sent to you in the mail. Are you a full-time employee? Then you, along with the other 130 million plus Americans working full time, are sent a W-2 in the mail every year that has your social security number on it. We also send checks, contracts, and other sensitive information in the mail regularly. If Richer doesn’t trust the mail with voter ID, he probably shouldn’t entrust it with his ballot either.

Richer is simply wrong about Prop 309, and he was wrong to use his office to campaign against it. The Attorney General should investigate to find the full extent of taxpayer resources used in his effort. More importantly, Richer should stop complaining about common-sense safeguards and instead do the job taxpayers pay him to do—efficiently and competently administering early voting. Most importantly, all Arizonans should say YES to Voter ID by voting YES on Prop 309.

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

Join our FREE Grassroots Action List to stay up to date on the latest battles against big government and how YOU can help influence crucial bills at the Arizona State Legislature.