Secretary of State’s online signature-gathering system breaks after redistricting

Screenshot via azsos.gov

By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror

Voters who want to sign online petitions and the candidates who need those signatures to get their names on the ballot this November are being thwarted by a glitch in the secretary of state’s system caused by the decennial redistricting process. 

And in counties that are overseeing springtime municipal elections, the glitch likely won’t be fixed until nearly the deadline for candidates to file signatures so they can appear on the ballot.

E-Qual is a system that allows voters to sign nominating petitions for congressional and legislative candidates online. Candidates still have the option of collecting signatures on paper petitions, but can collect 100% of the signatures they need online. Voters can also use E-Qual to give the $5 contributions that candidates need to qualify for public campaign funding from Arizona’s Clean Elections system. 

The system automatically rejects signatures from voters who aren’t qualified to sign a candidate’s petition, such as those who live outside a candidate’s district or who are registered with the wrong party. 

Normally, that’s a safeguard that helps candidates ensure that their signatures are valid. But it’s creating a problem with the new districts that the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission recently approved — but that aren’t technically in place yet.

E-Qual hasn’t yet been updated with the new districts and is only programmed with data from the old ones, which were used from 2012-2020. Because most of the new district numbers are different from the old ones, candidates who have already filed to run for office using their new districts are unable to collect signatures online from the voters who live there.

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