Groups weigh in on case to allow online petitions for ballot measures

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

The way the mayors of Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff see it, when the state’s founders required initiative petitions to be filed as “sheets,” they didn’t necessarily mean paper.

In a new legal filing, the attorney for the mayors is telling the Arizona Supreme Court that nowhere in the Arizona Constitution does it require that signatures be gathered on something people can hold in their hands. And attorney Shawn Aiken said what that means is that the court is free — and his clients believe should — give the go-ahead for groups seeking to put issues on the November ballot to use an electronic system for collecting signatures.

Regina Romero

The mayors aren’t the only ones urging the justices to permit online signature gathering, at least during the pandemic.

In a separate legal filing, the attorney for the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona and others is arguing that requiring petition circulators to make face-to-face contact with would be signers both endangers the firefighters and paramedics who might be called on to treat these people if they contract COVID-19. And if nothing else, Danny Adelman said if circulators decide to try to continue making personal contact they will be using up gloves and masks that are in short supply for the first responders who need them.

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