Our Petition Drive: Voting Rights and Tax Referenda

We are fortunate in Arizona that our State Constitution allows Arizona voters to veto bad legislation through a process called referendum.  Volunteers with the Coconino County Democratic Party are joining with citizens across the state to exercise this constitutional right. We are collecting signatures to reverse some of the damage the Arizona Legislature did to our state this Spring by placing six issues on the ballot for an up or down vote by Arizona citizens. (Issues discussed below.)

To refer these questions to the voters, the statewide organizers need to collect 118,000 valid signatures within 90 days of the day Governor Ducey signed the bills sent to him by the legislature. As a practical matter, approximately 170,000 signatures are needed to assure the minimum number of valid signatures. The best chance of meeting this requirement is through door-to-door canvassing of known registered voters. Door-to-door canvassing yields more valid signatures than standing or tabling in public spots to catch passersbys. Our volunteers will be doing both types of signature collection.

Starting tomorrow, precinct committee members and volunteers associated with our county party will begin knocking on doors in Flagstaff. We will have volunteers at the Flagstaff Community Market on both Sundays and Wednesdays, at Hullabaloo, at the County Fair, and at other locations throughout the county. A week from today, Saturday, July 24, we are hosting a signing event at our office. This effort will continue through the third week of September — if you can help, please contact us at

If you are on our volunteer lists, our canvass captains and event organizers will be contacting you — please respond positively, this may be one of the most important campaigns you’ve ever worked on. Here’s why:

Democracy Is Under Attack

Under the guise of responding to voter fraud (a problem that doesn’t exist ), the AZ legislature passed laws to make it more difficult to vote and more expensive for counties to administer elections. They also enacted requirements for tracking ballots in a way that threatens the privacy of our votes. In response, an organization called Arizona Deserves Better was founded by a former Chair of the Navajo Democratic Party and the co-founder of Save Our Schools, who helped lead the 90-day signature-gathering efforts in 2017 to stop a law that would have further starved our schools. Arizona Deserves Better has raised money, hired lawyers, and printed petitions to refer the following bills to the ballot:

SB 1485 If a voter does not vote an early ballot in all elections (primary, general and municipal) for two election cycles, county recorders will notify the voter, who then must sign and return the notice and also confirm their intent to remain on the list to receive a ballot by mail in the future. The Permanent Early Voting List is renamed the Active Early Voting List. For example, Arizona voters who have voted by mail for decades would stop automatically receiving their ballots by mail if they missed voting in just one primary and one municipal election.

HB 2569 Prohibits State and County Election Departments from receiving grants to help run elections, including doing voter registration. Counties used grants in 2020 to expand drop box locations and pay for personnel beyond what tax dollars provided. Without these additional funds, drop boxes will be fewer, early voting locations will be fewer, and lines will be longer.

SB 1819 This bill was rushed through budget reconciliation and contains several bad provisions. The worst require a specific type of ink and paper to be used for ballots (increasing the cost to counties) and requires barcodes and QR codes on ballots, which could imperil the constitutional requirement for ballot secrecy.

Unfair Taxation Will Damage AZ Education and More

In November 2020, Arizona voters approved a surcharge on the income tax of wealthy tax payors for the purpose of supporting K-12 education. Forty-seven Republican state legislators and Governor Ducey have overturned the will of 1.7 million Arizona voters as expressed in that election by passing budget schemes like the “flat tax.” While helping their rich friends avoid paying their fair share, they are starving Arizona schools and infrastructure.  The Arizona Education Association, Stand for Children, and other coalition members are determined not to let the GOP get away with this and have filed three referenda petitions through their new coalition, Invest in Arizona. But these tax bills aren’t just about education: A flat tax was a disaster for Kansas, which tried it in 2012, and would hurt Arizona’s infrastructure and universities as well as K-12 education. These are the bills to be referred to the voters:

SB 1827 – Caps tax rates at 4.5% to benefit those with incomes over $250,000 individual or $500,000 for joint filers, effectively repealing Prop 208 – last year’s voter-approved 3.5% surcharge on high incomes.

SB 1828 – Which creates a 2.5% flat tax, scrapping the current progressive rates (The failed Kansas experiment.)

SB 1783 – Which creates a loophole for small businesses to opt into to avoid last year’s voter-approved 3.5% surcharge on high incomes.

Join your fellow Coconino Democrats in this important Petition Drive!

As with any effort, this takes money as well as volunteers. Help if you can by donating today.

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