Voter suppression and unnecessary tinkering with elections have been themes in the Legislature this session.
SB1154 was defeated last week but passed the House today on reconsideration. This bill changes the primary date from the end of August to the beginning of August.
At first blush, this doesn’t seem to be a very big deal. Having the primary at the end of August makes it very close to the general election. Having the primary at the beginning of August gives candidates more time to win the general election l, but it could artificially suppress the primary vote, in my opinion.
If the primary is at the beginning of August, mailed ballots will go out around the Fourth of July. What do Arizonans like to do in July? Leave town! Also, the vast majority of college students will not be in town to vote in July/early August.
We should be facilitating voting — not pass laws that will make it more difficult for some groups.
Arizona House Republicans recently passed SB1451, Senator Vince Leach’s latest attempt to kill the Citizens Initiative process. Every year, Republicans add new regulations to the popular Citizens Initiative process–like dramatically increasing the number of signatures, strict compliance on petitions (forcing us to write in between the lines or risk having our signature knocked off), or eliminating the pay-per-signature practice for paid circulators.
The worst part of 1451 was taken out in the Senate. That was the section that made people group the petitions by circulator and allowed for elimination of whole petitions if one volunteer’s petitions got mixed up with another. The house added another amendment to give the attorney general the power to change the language used to explain the initiative. (This is a scary thought, after all of the intrigue and BS that surrounded the language of the initiatives on the 2018 ballot. You’ll remember that the anti-Clean Elections initiative was allowed to be purposefully misleading.)
SB1451 is a bad bill that over-regulates the Citizens Initiative process, adds bureaucracy and slows the process of circulator recruitment and signature gathering down.
If you often scratch your head at the bad bills that the Republicans pass in Congress and in the state legislatures and wonder what their end game is, you should read Democracy in Chains by Nancy McClean.
What you may think are random bad ideas that have somehow gotten into law are actually part of a grand scheme that has been playing out since Brown versus the Board of Education attempted to desegregate public schools in the United States.
An academic, McClean has studied the articles, books and letters of James Buchanan, the economist not the former president. Buchanan was the primary theorist of public choice theory. In the 1950s, public choice theory was used as a rationale to close all of the public schools in the state of Virginia (rather than comply with desegregation) and is being used today to support state-funded vouchers for private and religious schools. In Virginia in the 1950s, the state gave money to white parents for private school vouchers and allowed hundreds of black children to go uneducated for years. Needless to say, this was a travesty of justice.
HB2724 is another Republican attack on the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. Due to misleading ballot language, voters were tricked into voting Yes on Prop 306 in November 2018. (I have old videos with 306 details.)
Prop 306 prohibits Clean Elections candidates from buying any services from a political party (like access to the VAN voter database or basic support services like organizing volunteers). Voters were led to believe that Clean Elections candidates were donating to the Democratic Party, but that is already illegal. (Candidates who run traditional do donate some of their campaign funds to their parties.)
Prop 306 also weakened the campaign finance watchdog function of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) by placing it under the Governor’s Regulatory Review Commission (GRRC). GRRC’s members are appointed by the governor, and most of them are lobbyists!
Let’s put the formerly independent campaign finance watchdog commission under a group of Republican political appointees. What could go wrong?
Arizonans love Clean Elections and the Citizens’ Initiative because these two statues allow the voters’ voices to be heard. That is exactly why these two rights of Arizona voters are under continuous attack by the Republican Party.
HB2724 is a direct assault on the autonomy of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and is the natural next step for right-wingers after the passage of the anti-Clean Elections Prop 306 in Nov. 2018.
HB2724 is politically targeted and costly over-regulation of a popular commission. HB2724 allows every rule created by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission to be challenged by anyone in the state and thus start an official investigation. This bill could spark multiple unnecessary investigations by the Governor’s regulatory agency. No other state agency suffers from this oppressive oversight. This is heavy-handed regulation aimed at suppressing the voices of candidates who choose to say no to big money politics.
There might be some journalistic rule against three exclamation points in one headline, but I’m excited.
On Monday, I submitted 249 $5 Clean Elections Qualifying Contributions and 750 signatures to get on the August 28, 2018 primary ballot and on the November 6, 2018 general election ballot. Thanks so much to everyone who canvassed with me, who signed my petition, who donated seed money, and who donated $5 to Clean Elections to support my re-election campaign.
If you have paper petitions or still want to sign my petition, you will have a chance in May. I know that I have volunteers out there with petitions; don’t worry. I plan to turn in additional signatures before the May deadline.
I love the Clean Elections system. I use it because I believe that big money politics has corrupted our election system. I see big money politics in action everyday. At the Capitol, bills are routinely brought forward that benefit one donor or one corporation. That is not fair to the people of Arizona.
It is a significant amount of work to collect hundreds of $5 donations, but Clean Elections funding frees me from making hours of fundraising phone calls to rich donors. My focus, as a Clean Elections candidate, is on connecting with and serving the voters.
Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin called herself a “Mama Grizzly” because she said she would fight like a Mama Grizzly to protect her children.
Although “Mama Grizzly” was a catchy marketing slogan for the folksy rural mayor from Alaska, the Republican Party has never embraced the idea of protecting children after birth or helping families. Unfortunately, this week Congressional Republicans took their disregard for middle class families one step further by voting for billions of dollars in tax cuts for big corporations and for the richest Americans– while saddling our children and grandchildren with massive debt to pay the bills in the future.
Hmmm… let’s see… what to do… pass legislation that would actually help millions of Americans– like equitably funding public education across the country or fixing the Affordable Care Act (to make it affordable) — OR cut taxes for your rich donors? Cut taxes, of course! With party-line votes to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Congressional Republicans have shown that they are far more interested in enriching the billionaire class than in improving the lives of everyday Americans. Universal healthcare? Food Security? World-class public education? Safe roads and bridges? Financial stability for the middle class? Meh. Congressional Republicans don’t care about pursuing the People’s To-Do List.
Although the majority of Americans see the tax cut bill as unfair, Republicans are on course to deliver the biggest Christmas present… ever… to the 0.01%.
In my opinion, the passage of this massive wealth transfer bill underscores the need for a few new progressive action items…
What is Clean Elections all about? Why would anyone choose to run for office using Arizona’s Clean Elections system– rather than run a “traditional” political campaign fueled by as much cash as you can rake in? How does the Clean Elections system work? What are the advantages and disadvantages to running a publicly funded campaign vs a privately funded campaign?
Please join former Arizona Senate Minority Leader Phil Lopes and I at the PDA Tucson Clean Elections Forum, Thursday, Nov. 16 at 6:30 p.m. at the Ward 6 office (Facebook event here.) Phil ran clean and won every election. I ran clean and won in 2016, and my 2018 re-election campaign is also a clean campaign.
If you think that big-money politics and special interests are destroying our democracy, come on down and learn about Clean Elections. Have you been toying with the idea of running for office but can’t stand the idea of making hundreds of fundraising phone calls to raise the cash the consultants say you need?
Clean Elections is a grassroots system of organizing and funding a political campaign; it was created by the Citizens Initiative process. Candidates are required to collect a designated number of $5 qualifying contributions from people who can vote for them, plus collect signatures like other candidates. Once Legislative candidates have collected a minimum of 200 valid $5 contributions, they qualify for public funds and agree not to take any donations from corporations, special interest PACs, or dirty money from secret sources. With public funds, seed money, and family money, Clean Elections candidates receive approximately $45,000 to run for office. Is $45,000 enough money to run for office? Yes! If you look at campaign finance reports, there are current Legislators who won their offices with $1000 or less! Campaign finance is all over the map. In 2016, my average seed money donation was $25. (The maximum donation for a clean candidate is $160; the maximum donation for a privately funded candidate is $5000. A stark contrast.)
Legislative candidates in LD9 (Victoria Steele, Jim Love and me), LD2 (Senator Andrea Dalessandro and Rep. Rosanna Gabaldon), and LD3 (Senator Olivia Cajero-Bedford and Betty Villegas) are running clean– along with several statewide candidates for department of education and Arizona Corporation Commission. You can support them by clicking here to donate $5.
If you want to get big money out of politics and you like Arizona’s Clean Elections system, it’s time to speak up to save it. Irregularities in the 2016 election prompted proposed rule changes by the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. (There are three versions of R2-20-702 and a new rule R2-20-703.01 – here. You can send your comments to email@example.com or go to this link and submit comments by June 19, before the commission votes at its next meeting on June 22, 2017.)
Below is the back story and a detailed explanation of the proposed rule changes.
After collecting the requisite number of petition signatures and $5 qualifying donations from people who can vote for them, Clean Elections candidates (like me) receive lump sums of $16,000 for the primary and $24,000 for the general election– in exchange for vowing not to take big money donations. With seed money and family money, the total for a Clean Elections candidate is roughly $45,000 for a Legislative campaign. All unspent CE funds must be returned to the CE commission, and all unspent seed money or seed money overage must be returned to the individual donors.
During the 2016 election, two Democratic Party Clean Elections candidates turned over all or most of their CE funds in a lump sum to the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (ADLCC) of the Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) to run their campaigns, provide paid staff, and purchase/design/mail their printed materials. ADLCC provides these services to many traditionally funded candidates and offered them to CE candidates as well in 2016. A problem arose with at least two CE candidates because the party didn’t provide individual invoices for specific services rendered.
Yesterday, I received my official notice that my $5 Clean Elections Qualifying Contributions had passed muster. In other words, the Pima County Recorder’s office has reviewed my 277 $5 contributions and verified that more than 250 registered LD9 voters gave me $5. Yay!
This is a huge milestone for my campaign because it means I will receive my primary funds of $16,044 early next week. If — or I should say when — I win the primary race, I will receive another $24, 066. Clean Elections candidates also can raise seed money of $4011 and family money of up to $720. That is a grand total of $44,841 to run for the Legislature.
In these days of dark money, ~$45,000 is not a lot of cash to run a campaign, but I believe with targeted strategies, social media, volunteers, and a lot of hard work, we can do this. Obviously, there are many things that privately funded candidates purchase with campaign funds that I won’t be able to afford or that I I won’t be able to buy because of Clean Elections law.
I won’t be hiring someone to sit next to me and force me to call hundreds of wealthy people and ask them for $5000 (the new maximum Legislative contribution, thanks to the dark money darlings in the Arizona Legislature). Actually, my campaign has just about reached the seed money/family money limit. As of this date, I can accept only another $165 in seed money and another $200 in family money (if any of the Hannley’s or the Powers’ are reading this.) Mine is definitely a campaign run on small donations and people power. Not counting the 277 $5 Clean Elections contributions or the $160 that my husband and I each donated to my campaign, I received 95 individual seed money donations, mostly from people who live in Tucson. Fifty-eight percent of my seed money donations were $25 or less, and only seven donations (4%) were the maximum donation of $160. Thank you so much! Clean Elections candidates live on seed money until they get their public funds.