Saturday, November 26, 2022 10:16 pm

Want online signatures for ballot measures? Change the Constitution first, Arizona Supreme Court says

By Andrew Oxford | Arizona Republic

Voters in Arizona must sign petitions for ballot measures with a pen and paper, the Supreme Court said Friday, snubbing the idea of online signatures.

The opinion comes after four ballot measure campaigns filed suit earlier this year requesting to use the same website, known as E-Qual, that candidates for state offices use to get signatures for their nominating petitions.

The groups argued that collecting the hundreds of thousands of signatures necessary to get their initiatives on the ballot had become significantly harder amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

While two campaigns still managed to get their measures placed on the November ballot, the lawsuit raised the question of whether election officials might allow for digital signatures in the future, which would upend the current labor-intensive and increasingly expensive process of dispatching armies of volunteers or paid staff with clipboards and reams of paper.

The state’s highest court said that would be unconstitutional.

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