Judge: Clean Elections Ballot Language 'Misleading'

By Claire Caulfield
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - 10:44am
Updated: Tuesday, July 31, 2018 - 10:45am

On Monday, a judge ordered lawmakers to provide voters with more information on a ballot measure proposing changes to the Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury said the Republican-dominated Legislative Council failed to adequately explain that the ballot measure would strip away some of the existing authority of the commission to craft its own rules.

That change would require the commission to have its rules reviewed — and potentially vetoed — by the Governor's Regulatory Review Council, made up of gubernatorial appointees, or the attorney general who is an elected partisan official.

The political campaigns of both the governor and the attorney general are subject to commission oversight including any fines for law violations governing donations and expenditures.

Coury called the flawed portions "misleading by omission'' and blocked the secretary of state's office from distributing a pamphlet to voters until the description, adopted by the Republican-dominated Legislative Council on a party-line vote, is amended.

House Speaker J.D. Mesnard, who chairs the Legislative Council, said he’ll review the ruling with attorneys before deciding whether to make the changes or appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.

A brochure explaining the issue will be sent to the homes of all 3.6 million registered voters.

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