In the last newsletter, bills that would limit freedom of elections and those running were discussed. What happened to these bills in the hasty legislative session just ended?
Well, you can contribute more money to candidates, third parties have a higher bar to get on the ballot, and voter initiatives become difficult to get on the ballot. Here are the specifics: House Bill 2407 modifies requirements for voter referendums and recalls. Rules have been tightened on
the signature-gathering process and the wording of the measure. Now thousands of signatures can be invalidated over minor mistakes such as margin spacing and serial numbers; signatures can be disqualified for not matching a voter's registration. Even marking the wrong date will disqualify the whole
sheet of signatures!
What does this mean? This means that recent attempts by voters to put these types of election issues on the ballot could be easily tossed. In that effort more than 146,000 voter signatures under this law could be invalidated.
Want to be a third party candidate? Think twice! House Bill 2608 has increased the number of signatures third-party candidates need to get on the ballot. Third-party contenders now have to collect a larger proportion of signatures than Republican and Democratic counterparts and far more than they currently are required. Our own LD 17 Representative J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, in backing this bill felted third-party candidates cost Republicans congressional seats.
Not feeling like you are contributing enough money for our political process? House Bill 2415 will allow you to ease your conscious as well as your bank account by increasing campaign contribution limits up to $6,250 from the prior $5,000 limit for an individual donor per election cycle.This limit was raised before in 2014.
Guess that amount wasn't enough for our Republican-run government!
And it you are a fan of dark money in our electoral process, House Bill 2649 modifies the definition of political committee. This bill will create loopholes so more dark money can have greater influence on Arizona elections.
The good news? The bill that would have blocked educators from talking about legislation failed to advance.
Bottom line, the 2016 elections will be more restrictive, more expensive, and more limited in whom you can vote for than 2014. At the rate Arizona is are going, our legislators may decide to save money by just doing away with elections. Kind of like they are doing with education in this state!