By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror
Four ballot measures submitted their petitions by the deadline Thursday, and the campaigns say they are confident they have enough signatures to fend off any potential legal challenges aimed at keeping them off the ballot.
The campaign to legalize recreational marijuana submitted about 420,000 signatures on Wednesday. On Thursday, a measure that would make a host of changes to hospitals and health care in Arizona filed about 425,000 signatures; a proposal to scale back the state’s strict criminal sentencing standards submitted nearly 400,000; and an initiative that impose an income tax surcharge on higher-earning Arizonans to increase K-12 education funding filed more than 435,000 with the Secretary of State’s Office.
Citizen initiatives that make changes to state statute need 237,645 valid signatures to qualify for the ballot this year. The higher an initiative’s “cushion” — the number of signatures collected above the minimum needed — the lower its chances of being knocked off the ballot through a court challenge.
“I’m confident that all the measures that we’re working on have a margin that will withstand challenge,” said Stacy Pearson of the consulting firm Strategies 360, which is running the campaigns for the marijuana, education and sentencing reform initiatives.