STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), called for Secretary of State Ken Bennett to respect the will of the people and allow Arizona voters to decide on a ballot initiative this November. Bennett rejected the signatures of nearly 300,000 voters on a petition today.
“Mr. Bennett appears to be arbitrarily enforcing his own rules,” Campbell said. “In effect, he is telling almost 300,000 Arizonans that he does not care that they want to vote on an initiative because of a simple technicality. If people want to vote, let them vote.”
Bennett issued a letter that said the petitions were rejected, in effect, because of a clerical error. The committee seeking to get the initiative on the ballot submitted two versions to the Secretary of State’s Office - one paper and one electronic - that were slightly different. The group used one of the versions while collecting signatures but Bennett claims they should have used the other.
“Just a few weeks ago, a handful of ‘birthers’ asked Bennett to go on a fishing expedition for the president’s birth certificate and he did. Now there are nearly 300,000 people asking him to let them vote on an initiative and he is telling them no,” Campbell said. “Why do a few people involved in a fringe movement mean more to Bennett than hundreds of thousands of Arizona voters? Where is the consistency? Where is the leadership? Maybe his duties as Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign co-chair in Arizona are distracting him from his job as Arizona’s chief election officer. This is unacceptable.”