eQual: Your Most Valuable Resource for Candidate Petitions

By: Laura Huenneke

Candidates for elected office in Arizona must collect some minimum number of signatures of registered voters in their districts in order to make it onto the ballot. This process, overseen by the Arizona Secretary of State, drives candidates and their staff or volunteers to circulate petitions at every public opportunity (and at private ones, like house parties or neighborhood events). Fortunately the Secretary of State’s Office, in partnership with the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, has created an on-line process that allows voters to find and sign candidate petitions at their own convenience. The system is called “eQual” and you find it at https://apps.azsos.gov/equal/ 

eQual protects the integrity of the petition process by requiring the voter to identify themselves, with either a current driver’s license number (or state non-operator’s ID number), or a combination of social security number and voter identification card number. After the initial identification step, the voter is shown the list of all candidates for whom they might sign a petition. This initial verification step is of great value to candidates, because it means that all eQual signatures pass validation tests – something that doesn’t happen until after paper petitions are turned in. (And often quite a few signatures on paper petitions turn out to be disqualified – representing a major waste of effort for circulators and candidates.)

Simply reviewing the list of candidates you are shown is an education in itself. You are shown those candidates from your own registered political party, and those who are running as independents – these are the only candidates for whom you can sign. Links are provided for basic information about each candidate and, if available, for the candidate’s website. The system clearly indicates how many candidates you can sign for (one for U.S. Senator, for example, in the current election, or two for state House representatives). You can see at a glance whether you have already signed through eQual for that particular race.

The eQual site offers access to another important service: the ability to make so-called “qualifying contributions” to candidates who are running via the Clean Elections mechanism. If a candidate receives a minimum number of $5 contributions from voters registered in their district, that candidate will be provided campaign funding from the Clean Elections Commission and is saved from having to raise funding from other sources. Again, the eQual site makes it very easy to see which candidates you can support and to make those $5 donations. I live in LD 6, and right now the only Democrats running as Clean Elections candidates for whom I could contribute are two Dems running for the Arizona Corporation Commission.

We encourage you to visit https://apps.azsos.gov/equal/ and acquaint yourself with its resources and with the current roster of Democratic candidates. Sign those petitions and consider making a qualifying $5 donation to our Democrats running as Clean Elections candidates.

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Posted in Talking Points.