Case: Arizonans for Second Chances v. Hobbs

20-cv-00098 | Arizona state trial court

Filed Date: April 1, 2020

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

COVID-19 Summary: Four political action committees sued the Arizona Secretary of State seeking to allow ballot initiatives to meet Arizona's signature requirement through an online system similar to the method used to gather signatures for political candidates. They alleged the state's disparate treatment of ballot initiative signatures violated the state and national constitutions. On May 13, the Arizona Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs relief. On April 1, 2020, Arizonans for Second Chanc…

COVID-19 Summary: Four political action committees sued the Arizona Secretary of State seeking to allow ballot initiatives to meet Arizona's signature requirement through an online system similar to the method used to gather signatures for political candidates. They alleged the state's disparate treatment of ballot initiative signatures violated the state and national constitutions. On May 13, the Arizona Supreme Court denied the plaintiffs relief.


On April 1, 2020, Arizonans for Second Chances and three other political action committees filed this lawsuit in the Arizona Supreme Court. The plaintiffs sued the Arizona Secretary of State under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, alleging violations of the state and national Constitutions. The plaintiffs, represented by private counsel, sought injunctive relief from the Court in the form of an order directing the Secretary to permit plaintiffs to collect signatures for ballot initiatives via an online system, E-Qual, used to collect signatures for candidate campaigns. They claimed that Arizona's requirement that initiative signatures be collected in-person, while candidate campaign signatures could be collected online, violated Article IV and the Equal Protection, Due Process, and Free Speech clauses of the Arizona Constitution, as well as the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. This case was brought alongside a suit in the District Court of Arizona; additional information on the federal case can be found here: VR-AZ-0054.

The plaintiffs claimed that political action committees like themselves are required to gather 237,645 signatures in-person in order put initiatives on the ballot in November 2020. But, because of the Arizona Governor's "Stay at Home" order, Arizonans cannot leave their homes except to perform essential functions. Meanwhile, candidates running for office are able to collect signatures via an online system, "E-Qual," maintained by the Arizona Secretary of State. The plaintiffs alleged that this discrepancy violated the self-executing guarantee of the right to legislate by initiative as set forth in Article IV, Part 1, Section 1(2) of the Arizona Constitution by unreasonably hindering the plaintiff's ability to collect signatures amidst a pandemic. The plaintiffs also argued that the right to vote is a fundamental right recognized by both state and federal courts, and the state does not have a compelling interest that could burden that right. Certainly, plaintiffs argued, the requirement that signatures be gathered in person is not narrowly-tailored even if there were a compelling interest. Finally, plaintiffs argued that discriminating between candidates and initiatives was a content-based restriction that violated the First Amendment.

The Goldwater Institute filed an amicus brief contesting the plaintiffs' arguments, arguing that the rules for initiatives should be more stringent than those for candidates because Arizonans could oust a candidate from office if they were displeased with their performance, but that it was more difficult to reverse an initiative once it had passed.

On April 20, the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, League of Women Voters of Arizona, Arizona Republican Party, Paul Bender, the Mayor of the City of Phoenix, and Legislative Democrats each submitted amicus briefs.

On May 13, the Arizona Supreme Court accepted the special action jurisdiction but denied the plaintiffs relief.

Summary Authors

Justin Hill (4/19/2020)

Averyn Lee (6/28/2020)

Related Cases

Arizonans for Fair Elections v. Hobbs, District of Arizona (2020)

People


Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Desai, Roopali H. (Arizona)

Gaona, D. Andrew (Arizona)

Yost, Kristen M. (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Arellano, Daniel Abraham (Arizona)

Herrera, Roy Jr. (Arizona)

Jernigan, Greg (Arizona)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Active

Active

Attorneys(s) for Plaintiff

Desai, Roopali H. (Arizona)

Gaona, D. Andrew (Arizona)

Yost, Kristen M. (Arizona)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Arellano, Daniel Abraham (Arizona)

Herrera, Roy Jr. (Arizona)

Jernigan, Greg (Arizona)

Other Attorney(s)

Adelman, Daniel Jay (Arizona)

Ahern, Jane (Arizona)

Aiken, Shawn K. (Arizona)

Barnes, Rhonda L. (Arizona)

Brnovich, Mark (Arizona)

Brown, D. Aaron (Arizona)

Cantelme, David J. (Arizona)

Eckstein, Paul F. (Arizona)

Ensign, Drew Curtis (Arizona)

Flores, Lisette (Arizona)

Kanefield, Joseph Andrew (Arizona)

LaSota, Timothy Andrew (Arizona)

Makar, Robert John (Arizona)

Napolitano, Anthony R. (Arizona)

Roysden, Brunn Wall III (Arizona)

Sandefur, Timothy Mason (Arizona)

Scharff, Spencer Garrett (Arizona)

Wilenchik, Dennis Ira (Arizona)

Wright, Jennifer (Arizona)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

20-cv-00098

Docket

Arizona state supreme court

April 23, 2020

April 23, 2020

Docket

20-cv-00098

Complaint

Arizona state supreme court

April 2, 2020

April 2, 2020

Complaint

20-cv-00098

Brief Amici Curiae of Goldwater Institute in Support of Intervenors Speaker of the Arizona House and President of the Arizona Senate with Consent

Arizona state supreme court

April 14, 2020

April 14, 2020

Pleading / Motion / Brief

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 18, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: Arizona

Case Type(s):

Election/Voting Rights

Special Collection(s):

COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Key Dates

Filing Date: April 1, 2020

Case Ongoing: No reason to think so

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Four political action committees.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Public Interest Lawyer: No

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

Arizona Secretary of State, State

Defendant Type(s):

Jurisdiction-wide

Case Details

Causes of Action:

42 U.S.C. § 1983

State law

Constitutional Clause(s):

Due Process

Due Process: Substantive Due Process

Equal Protection

Freedom of speech/association

Special Case Type(s):

Appellate Court is initial court

Availably Documents:

Trial Court Docket

Complaint (any)

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

General:

Voting

Voting access

Voting:

Election administration