State argues case on ballot-measure rule not ‘ripe’

 

By Howard Fischer | Arizona Capitol Times

Attorneys for the state and Republican legislative leaders are asking the Arizona Supreme Court to rebuff efforts by various organizations to void a statute that could make it harder for voters to propose their own laws.

In new legal filings, the lawyers argue that state lawmakers have an absolute right to decide that initiative petitions have to be in “strict compliance” with each election law. Prior to 2017, Arizona courts had concluded that only “substantial compliance” is necessary, a standard that allowed for voters to decide issues even with minor and often technical errors.

But Assistant Attorney General Kara Karlson who signed the legal brief, told the justices that they don’t even have to consider whether the new requirements violate the constitutional rights of voters. She said only those who have suffered some harm from the new law — or are at least immediately threatened — have a legal right to challenge it.

Karlson said that’s not the case here.

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