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Secretary of State's office backs OV compliance with law on referendum petitions

January 23, 2015

A statement issued by the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State makes clear that Oro Valley acted in accordance with the law when it declared the T.O.O.T.H. in OV referendum petition signatures invalid.

“In our view, the Town is interpreting statute correctly,” said Matt Roberts, spokesman for the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.  “While it’s regrettable that people put a lot of time and energy into the circulation of petitions, state law requires strict compliance when it comes to voter-initiated referendum.”

The petition sought to refer to a ballot the December 17, 2014 Town Council decision to acquire the El Conquistador Country Club and its related amenities.

According to Arizona Revised Statute (ARS) 19-111 (B), it is mandatory that the petition serial number appear in the lower right hand corner of both the front and back of the petition. The submitted petitions did not bear the assigned serial number. This provision was included as a requirement in the materials provided to the referendum committee.

It should also be noted there were a number of other errors found. Following is an excerpt from a January 20, 2015 “Referendum Petition Reception” memo to the T.O.O.T.H. in OV committee.

As stated above, none of the petition sheets contained the petition serial number. In addition, the following errors were also found:
• Sheets not attached to a copy of the title and text of the measure
• Sheets containing a circulator’s affidavit that is not completed or signed
• Sheets on which the affidavit of the circulator is not notarized, the notary’s signature is missing, the notary’s commission has expired or the notary’s seal is not affixed
• Sheets on which the signatures of the circulator or the notary are dated earlier than the dates on which the electors signed the face of the petition sheet
• Sheets on which the circulator of the petition has not stated whether he is a paid or volunteer circulator (as required by ARS 19-101)

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