Phoenix, AZ—Today a diverse group of Arizona voters and taxpayers challenged the constitutionality of a ballot measure pushed by the legislature and big money interests to repeal the Citizens Clean Elections Act passed by popular vote in 1998. The legislature appears to have intentionally used confusing language designed to deceive voters. Like many recent actions by the legislature, the measure impinges on local control by forcing the city of Tucson to shut down their 25-year campaign finance system and turn over local funds for state government use. “Opponents and special interests know the only way they can attack Clean Elections is with lies and unconstitutional efforts like this,” said Mike Valder, a plaintiff in the lawsuit and longtime advocate of stronger anti-corruption laws.
The citizens are challenging the legality of SCR 1025, a referendum passed in the final chaotic days of the legislative session. It would effectively kill Arizona’s Clean Elections program, overwhelmingly approved by voters in 1998, after another money corruption scandal erupted in Arizona’s legislature.
Prior to passage of the legislation, the Arizona Advocacy Network worked to educate legislators on Clean Elections’ popularity with voters. It released a poll with Public Campaign that showed broad and diverse support for Clean Elections in the state.
• Opponents of Clean Elections aren’t interested in debating the merits of the law, or discussing additional anti-corruption improvements. The reason is clear: Voters overwhelmingly support the program, with 79% of Arizonans backing the law.
• The dishonest language used in the ballot measure is nothing new. Opponents have attempted to kill the popular program by confusing voters since the anti-corruption law was passed in 1998.
“Clean Elections supports government of, by and for the People Arizona. In every poll since passage by voters in 1998, Arizonans overwhelmingly support the Clean Elections Act and vehemently oppose its repeal,” said Sam Wercinski of the Arizona Advocacy Network.
Full poll results are available online at http://www.publicampaign.org/polls/arizona2011.
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