By Elisha Dorfsmith
This afternoon the Arizona Senate Government Committee voted to approve the GOP’s newest attempt at keeping third party candidates off the Arizona ballot. HB2608, a bill introduced by J.D. Mesnard (R), is very similar to last year’s HB2305 and would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible for third party candidates to qualify for primary ballot access in Arizona. Many third party candidates would be forced to collect more signatures than they have registered voters in their party.
The Arizona Constitution Party issued a press release asking Arizonans to contact their elected officials and urge them to vote no on this bill when it comes up for a full vote. I am printing the press release below in full but I will say up front that it has a couple errors that need to be pointed out. Namely, “qualified signers” will not be ALL registered voters. HB2608 says that qualified signers will be defined as members of your party, independents, and members of a party that does not qualify for ballot access. This clarification makes HB2608 slightly better than HB2305 but still nearly impossible for third party candidates to get on the ballot.
Here is the Arizona Constitution Party press release:
Here we go again!
In typical anti-competitive fashion, the Republicans are attempting to make it more difficult for third-party and independent candidates to compete in elections. The latest tactic is House Bill 2608 which modifies Arizona statutes relating to elections and was introduced by Representative J.D. Mesnard.
Don’t be fooled by the language of this bill. On the surface, it appears easier for candidates by reducing the number of qualified signers from one-half of one percent to one-fourth of one percent. But when you read this bill closer, it also redefines what qualified signers are. The current percentage of qualified signers is based on a candidate’s party affiliation. However, in the proposed revisions, qualified signers would be defined as ALL registered voters, regardless of party affiliation. To put this into perspective, an Arizona Constitution Party candidate running for U.S. Senate or a state office would need 5,835 qualified signers under the current structure. With the proposed changes, that number soars to 8,118. That’s an additional 2,283 signatures, or a 39% increase!
Flash back to January 2013. Republicans introduced House Bill 2305 which sought to make it more difficult to gain ballot access. However, thanks to voter opposition, it was repealed in February 2014 with House Bill 2196. This latest bill is just another pathetic attempt to make it more difficult for voters to have more choices and helps to ensure that members of the two major parties maintain their positions longer.
Ironically, numerous Gallup polls have shown that Americans strongly desire third parties which clearly have Democrats and Republicans running scared. The majority has been calling for a third party since 2007! In January 2014, 58% of those polled said “a third U.S. political party is needed because the Republican and Democratic parties ‘do such a poor job’ representing the American people.”
Call to Action:
We need your help! Please contact your House member(s) today and tell them to vote ‘No’ on HB2608. You can find the full list of representatives and their contact information here: http://www.azleg.gov/MemberRoster.asp?Body=H. Let your voice be heard!
- HB2608 Document: http://www.azleg.gov/legtext/52leg/1r/bills/hb2608p.pdf
- Voter Registration Data: http://azsos.gov/elections/voter-registration-historical-election-data
- Summary of HB2305/HB2196: http://ballotpedia.org/Arizona_House_Bill_2305_(2013)
- Americans Want a Third Party Gallop Poll: http://www.gallup.com/poll/177284/americans-continue-say-third-political-party-needed.aspx
By Elisha Dorfsmith
After watching tonight’s Flagstaff City Council meeting, my faith in government has reached a whole new low. Do our elected officials ever get tired of looking for new ways to harass us and micromanage the lives of the people they are supposed to represent? Of course the answer is no. Here are three things you should take away from tonight’s meeting.
Tonight Mayor Nabours asked for and received enough support to pursue a possible ordinance limiting liquor licenses in downtown Flagstaff. According to him, we may have reached our limit and a cap needs to be considered. What the alcohol nannies don’t understand is that if there was not a demand for alcohol in downtown Flagstaff, businesses would not be applying for licenses. The market has shown that alcohol sells and any meddling by do-gooders in office is a slap in the face to the people and businesses in our City.
The Flagstaff City Council passed a bizarre resolution tonight calling for a halt to a proposed development in Tusayan. Now, I have heard that there is some cronyism going on with the Tusayan deal and it is probably a bad deal but what is so bizarre about this resolution is the premise. It says the project will create too much competition for Flagstaff businesses and will hurt Flagstaff’s economy.
This is protectionism at its finest. Honestly, the Sierra Club made a better argument against this Tusayan development than the supposed free market businessmen crying about competition.
You can read the entire resolution here:
I have talked about Flagstaff’s proposed anti party ordinance in the past and as I predicted, this is all about cracking down on The Grove and forcing the Flagstaff Police Department’s Crime-Free Multi-Housing program on student housing complexes. Both were brought up multiple times tonight and it sounds like the Crime-Free Multi-Housing program will be added to the ordinance.
“Unlawful assembly” is at the center of what this proposed ordinance is about and Flag PD suggested it include a $250 fine for all party attendees as well as organizers for a first offense. They also suggested putting a giant red sticker on houses where unlawful gatherings had been held. Time will tell what actually makes its way into the ordinance but Mayor Nabours said that council trusts Flag PD completely and he is sure that whatever they come up with will be great.
I’ll post an update when this comes back to council.