Backlash over campaign rule error: Peoria officials admit mistake but face public scrutiny

Peoria City Hall

By Taylor Seely | Arizona Republic

Peoria’s city manager has apologized for providing confusing rules on when campaign signs can go up in the city, but some residents aren’t buying it.

City officials chalked it up to “human error,” saying they provided candidates the correct dates but forgot to update a document on the city’s website.

City Manager Jeff Tyne said he took “full responsibility” for the mistake and apologized for causing inconvenience.

But some candidates say the dates weren’t clear to them.

And residents, who say they are “zeroing in” on election procedures and “doubting the integrity” of their elected officials, are wary to dismiss the matter as an innocent mistake, instead accusing the city of “electioneering” and “changing the rules” to benefit one mayoral candidate over another.

The incredulity with which some now approach elections is leaving little, if any, room for error without accusations of improper behavior, reflecting how widespread election integrity controversies at the state and national level trickle into local, nonpartisan politics.

Peoria mayoral candidate Bridget Binsbacher.

The concerns percolated last month when mayoral candidate Bridget Binsbacher began posting her campaign signs around the city. The former council member is competing against Peoria business owner Jason Beck to lead the northwest Valley suburb of about 190,000 residents.

Some of Beck’s supporters questioned whether Binsbacher’s signs were up too early.

Binsbacher said she posted signs because she thought the candidate packet clearly outlined she was allowed.

Chad Heywood, a spokesperson for Beck, said Beck has not displayed signs because city guidance said not to until after the primary.

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What’s the controversy and how did it start?

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