(LAKE RIDGE, VA) – Today, Citizens in Charge Foundation, a national voter rights group focused on the ballot initiative and referendum process, presented Arizona citizen Lynne Weaver with the November 2010 Lilburne Award. Lynne is being honored this month for her work opposing Arizona Proposition 112, a legislatively referred ballot measure that would have reduced the petition period in Arizona.
The head of a ballot initiative campaign to reduce Arizona property taxes says the effort will go down to the wire. Lynne Weaver is chairwoman of the Prop 13 Arizona campaign. She said Thursday that supporters are still collecting voter signatures to put the measure on the ballot and likely won’t file petitions until right before the July 1 filing deadline.
Supporters of a citizen-initiated half-cent sales tax increase submitted 470 signatures on Monday to have the question put on the November ballot. Before it can be officially placed on the ballot, the county will need to verify that at least 396 of the signatures are valid. The initiative calls for allocating one-quarter-cent sales tax to fund construction of a new library and one-quarter-cent to fund construction of long-awaited ball fields, amenities and infrastructure on the Town’s 118-acre park site off State Route 260 and McCracken Lane.
A small grassroots organization seeking to put Arizona’s strict new illegal immigration law on the ballot is optimistic but faces the daunting task of collecting about 7,500 signatures a day by July 1. The organization, Compassion for All, must collect 153,365 valid signatures in less than a month to qualify for the November ballot. Organizers took out petitions for their ballot initiative on May 24, a month after Gov. Jan Brewer signed S1070.
Navajo President Joe Shirley Jr. scored two legal victories Friday when the tribe’s Supreme Court ruled that an election to reduce the Tribal Council properly passed, and a council vote to place him on leave was invalid. Navajos voted overwhelmingly in December to reduce the council from 88 members to 24 and give the president line-item veto authority. Tim Nelson, a Navajo voter from Leupp, challenged the council reduction, saying it should not have passed without a majority vote in each of the tribe’s 110 precincts.
The Hemet City Council weighed in on a couple of political issues this week, taking a stand in support of a ballot initiative and instructing the staff to prepare a resolution in support of Arizona’s immigration law. Mayor Eric McBride proposed the resolution of support for the Arizona law in part to put a positive voice into the debate over the controversial measure. “They’re getting a lot of bad press about it,” he said.
Of the 45 states whose legislatures hold sessions in 2010, 27 of them have adjourned for the year, and 5 more will wrap up before the end of the month. Of the more than 80 bills dealing with the initiative and referendum process in various states, 51 of them would have reduced citizens’ initiative rights. Thanks to the work of activists in our coalitions, only 3 bills reducing citizen’s rights have passed and become law.
In Arizona’s first statewide special election since 1980, voters will decide today whether to raise the state sales tax by 1¢. Farther north, Oregon voters will decide whether to allow the state government to issue bonds to match local school district bonds as well as whether to authorize state spending on higher education. Both state’s ballot questions were referred by the state legislatures.
It is, after all, a numbers game. Three seats to fill; four vs. two; one cent, or one percent, if you prefer. And the numbers – your votes – in the end, won’t lie. Tuesday, May 18 marks yet another day at the polls for voters in Maricopa, the state of Arizona, and nationwide.