By Dillon Rosenblatt | Arizona Capitol Times
Four ballot initiatives Thursday asked the Arizona Supreme Court for permission to gather signatures online, given the current challenge to collect during COVID-19.
On March 30, Gov. Doug Ducey urged Arizonans to remain at home unless abiding by his definition of essential services, and the initiative groups argue that switching to online is “the right thing for public health and democracy.”
The initiatives involved are Smart and Safe Arizona, the effort to legalize recreational marijuana; Invest in Education, a measure that proposes to tax the rich to fund public education; Second Chances, Rehabilitation and Public Safety, which would increase public safety and reduce recidivism; and Save Our Schools, which is trying to put a cap on students who would have access to the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Accounts program, among other provisions.
Attorneys Roopali Desai and Andy Gaona are representing the initiatives, and it names Secretary of State Katie Hobbs as the defendant since she’s the one who is “statutorily responsible for the creation and maintenance of the ‘E-Qual’ secure online signature collection system at the heart of this action.”
The state already allows for candidates seeking statewide, legislative or federal office to collect signatures through E-Qual, where registered voters have to enter in some of their personal information like their name, date of birth, drivers license and last four digits of their social security number.