2008 Ballot Proposition Guide
Issued by Secretary of State Jan Brewer

Proposition 105

Official Title

An Initiative Measure

Majority Rule--Let The People Decide Act

PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA: AMENDING ARTICLE IV, PART 1, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA, BY ADDING SECTION 1.1 RELATING TO INITIATIVE MEASURES AND REQUIRING THAT ANY MANDATORY TAX OR SPENDING INCREASE BE ENACTED BY A MAJORITY OF QUALIFIED ELECTORS.

 

Text of Proposed Amendment

Be it enacted by the People of the State of Arizona:

The Constitution of Arizona is proposed to be amended by adding Section 1.1 to Article IV, Part 1 as follows, if approved by a majority of the votes cast thereon and on proclamation of the Governor:

Section 1. Article IV, Part 1, Constitution of Arizona, is amended by adding Section 1.1, as follows:

1.1. FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY THROUGH TRUE MAJORITY RULE

SECTION 1.1. TO PRESERVE AND PROTECT THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE TO FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY THROUGH TRUE MAJORITY RULE, AN INITIATIVE MEASURE THAT ESTABLISHES, IMPOSES OR RAISES A TAX, FEE, OR OTHER REVENUE, OR MANDATES A SPENDING OBLIGATION, WHETHER ON A PRIVATE PERSON, LABOR ORGANIZATION, OTHER PRIVATE LEGAL ENTITY OR THIS STATE, SHALL NOT BECOME LAW UNLESS THE MEASURE IS APPROVED BY A MAJORITY OF QUALIFIED ELECTORS THEN REGISTERED TO VOTE IN THIS STATE.

Section 2. Short Title: This Constitutional Amendment shall be known as the "Majority Rule--Let the People Decide Act."

 

Analysis by Legislative Council

Proposition 105 would amend the Arizona Constitution to provide that an initiative measure that establishes, imposes or raises a tax, a fee or other revenue or mandates a spending obligation on a private person, a labor organization, other private legal entity or this state shall not become law unless the initiative measure is approved at the election by a majority of qualified electors registered to vote in the state.

 

Fiscal Impact Statement

State law requires the Joint Legislative Budget Committee (JLBC) Staff to prepare a summary of the fiscal impact of certain ballot measures. The fiscal impact cannot be determined in advance. Ballot propositions are currently approved by a majority of votes cast on a measure. By increasing the current vote threshold for an initiative that increases a tax or fee or creates a mandatory spending obligation, Proposition 105 may reduce the number of such initiatives that are approved in the future.

 

Arguments "For" Proposition 105

 

Argument in Favor of The Majority Rules Initiative

On behalf of the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity (www.aztaxpayers.org), we encourage all Arizona voters to vote yes on Prop 105, the Majority Rules Initiative.

Proportionally, our state government has the largest budget deficit in the nation. One of the main causes of the fiscal crisis is the fact that almost half of the state budget is on autopilot. Every year, the Governor and Legislature are forced by voter-approved ballot measures to spend more and more money on certain government programs.

Because of voter-approved spending mandates, the Governor and the Legislature are not allowed to freeze or reduce the spending for those government programs--even during a recession, when companies are closing, people are losing their jobs, and tax revenues are drying up.

The Majority Rules Initiative would not affect existing voter-approved spending mandates, but it would raise the bar, making it harder for special interests to enact new spending mandates. That makes sense. When you're deep in a hole, the first thing you should do is to stop digging.

The Majority Rules Initiative would also make it harder for special interests to use ballot initiatives to raise our taxes. Of course, if we, as a strong majority of voters, want new spending obligations or tax increases, we can still vote for them.

We, the voters of Arizona, have done much to create the state's budget crisis. And we, the voters, must fix it. We urge you to join us in voting yes on Prop 105.

Chad Kirkpatrick, Arizona Chairman, Americans for Prosperity, Phoenix

Tom Jenney, Arizona Director, Americans for Prosperity

Paid for by "Americans for Prosperity"

 

Vote yes on Proposition 105 because a true majority should set new taxes at the ballot box.

With some irony this initiative is forced by previous initiatives which have created out of control state spending and burdensome regulations by special interests of using the ballot box. Low voter turnout elections create situations where taxes, spending and regulations can be driven by narrow special interests, but the costs are borne by everyone on a permanent basis.

This initiative says if the voters of Arizona want to enact new taxes and mandates on government and the private sector, the measure must be passed by a majority of those qualified to vote in that election. This initiative does not affect proposals referred to the voters by the legislature. These proposals are thoroughly debated and are tested beyond the "slick and misleading" slogans special interests use when they put their measures on the ballot. It also does not effect local bonding elections for local government and schools.

When special interests put permanent tax, spending and regulatory measures on the ballot, a vote of a majority of those qualified to vote should be required.

Kevin Rogers, President, Arizona Farm Bureau, Gilbert

Jim Klinker, Chief Administrative Officer, Arizona Farm Bureau, Gilbert

Paid for by "Arizona Farm Bureau"

 

Our legislators and our governor have failed us
They are spending too much of our tax money.
Their hands must be tied.
This ballot measure will help do that.
Please vote yes

Roy Miller, Phoenix

 

Concerned About Our Budget Deficit? Vote Yes For Majority Rule

Our state faces a massive, crushing, and growing budget deficit. When a family has these problems, it cuts its spending. So too did our Legislature try to curb the spending frenzy of years past. But it couldn't, because much of the spending was approved through ballot measures, and it is nearly impossible to reduce it, even in times of fiscal emergency.

Many of those spending measures were enacted by far fewer than a majority of Arizona voters. Yet their actions tie the hands of our elected officials, and all of us bear the financial burden.

Moreover, special-interest groups not only benefit from higher taxes and spending, but they often lavishly bankroll campaigns to convince voters to approve them through the initiative process. Once approved, even if voter turnout is light, those increases often are locked in forever.

It makes sense that if voter-approved spending measures are largely off-limits even when circumstances change, they should reflect the will of a true majority of Arizona voters. The Majority Rule initiative would make sure that spending and tax increases reflect the real will of the people.

Taxes and spending in Arizona are growing far faster than population and inflation. As a result, our economy is stagnating, property values are plummeting, and people are losing their homes and businesses. It's a fiscal train that's out of control. If our politicians won't fix it--indeed, can't fix it--we the citizens need to assume greater control and responsibility. Majority Rule gives us the power to control our fiscal destiny.

Clint Bolick, Phoenix

 

The Majority Rules Initiative, Proposition 105, promises to make it harder for the tax and spend special interests, whose appetites seem never satiated, to highjack our ballot box and with a minority of the people in this state impose new taxes or new spending on the rest of us.

Under current law, out-of-state special interests can hire paid circulators to put tax and spend measures on the ballot which can become law without a broad state consensus that the taxing or spending is necessary or wise. Indeed, they can become law with only a minority of registered voters supporting them. Special interests have done just this with the result that the Legislature is powerless to cut back on the mandated spending, even if it means paying taxes we can't afford or spending more than we have in the state's treasury.

It is more important than ever, when taxes are choking us and state spending is out of control, that we put the brakes on runaway special interests high jacking our ballot box for their favorite tax and spend schemes. If a measure is worthy of support, it will attract a broad consensus -- a majority of qualified electors -- to become law. Accepting less than a true majority of qualified voters means that a measure does not have the broad support that it should have before new taxes or new spending are forced onto the entire state.

Please remember the wise counsel of Thomas Jefferson: "We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. I place economy among the first and most important of republican virtues, and public debt as the greatest of the dangers to be feared."

Please support this reasonable fiscal restraint and help Arizona get its budget under control.

Steve Twist, Scottsdale

 

In 1992 voters approved a measure that made it tougher for state lawmakers to raise taxes. Instead of a simple majority needed to pass a tax increase, it now takes 2/3 of the legislature to pass a tax increase on Arizona taxpayers. This has proved to be an important safeguard. From the time that initiative passed 16 years ago, the legislature has not been successful in raising taxes. Unfortunately that's not the end of the story.

Interest groups have successfully raised taxes and spending for their causes by circumventing the legislature and getting approval from only a simple majority of election-day voters. This means that a minority of registered voters can raise taxes on everyone.

Like the protection against legislative tax increases passed 16 years ago, Majority Rule provides a similar safeguard against interest groups that seek to raise taxes or spending.

Simply stated, Majority Rule says that any citizen initiative that seeks to raise taxes or spending must be approved by a majority of all registered voters.

Please vote yes on Prop. 105, the Majority Rule initiative.

Steve Voeller, Phoenix

 

End Unfairness of Micro-Minority Rule

Imagine that only 15 of your neighbors decide that the other 85 of you should be charged for decades or longer for a project that was destined to bankrupt the entire neighborhood. This is precisely what happens now under the rules that allow a small percentage of voters to raise taxes or spending through ballot initiatives. Requiring a simple majority of qualified voters before new spending or taxing can be instituted would be a far superior system. And infinitely fairer.

It's all in a name. One trick is to give a ballot measure such warm and fuzzy titles that a small number of voters (currently the threshold for passage) is enticed into agreeing to more spending or taxation, sometimes in perpetuity. A busy citizen caught up in the business of supporting a family or surviving crises is no match for a highly-paid public relations consultant who knows the right catch phrases to splash across a 5-color brochure in order to bag an affirmative vote for ever more juicy entitlements.

Despite the rosy scenarios painted by politicians that all is fine in our fiscal affairs, Arizona is on the verge of going broke. Elected officials who say otherwise are just covering their trails.

This initiative is one of the most important on which Arizona citizens will vote. Let's help save our state from monetary meltdown. End the unfairness of minority rule by voting yes.

Becky Fenger, Phoenix

 

Argument in Favor of the Majority Rule Initiative

Since the initiative process has been taken over by lobbyists and special interest groups, I encourage all Arizona voters to take back the initiative process by voting yes on Prop 105, the Majority Rule Initiative.

In recent years the initiative process has been hijacked by lobbyists and special interest groups whose sole mission is to trample on the many for the benefit of the few, and it has become a plague on Arizona's system of government.

In an effort to curb wasteful government spending, Arizona taxpayers have required the Legislature to have a supermajority to raise taxes. Since these groups cannot pass their "projects" through the legislative process, they have turned to the slick public relations firms to convince us to raise our taxes for their pet projects.

Unfortunately, very citizen of Arizona must pay for these projects, we don't require a majority of the taxpayers to approve them. That's why it's time to reinstate majority rule. Simply put Majority Rule requires a majority of the taxpayers to decide how money is spent, and not special interest groups.

With all of the increased spending, Arizona will need to raise taxes to pay for it. We need to require a true majority of tax-paying citizens to approve of these spending measures. By working together we can change the system and send the special interests packing.

On Election Day, please don't let your guard down. The special interests will do their best to scare us, but don't be fooled. The best thing we can do for ourselves, our families and our state is to take back the power from these special interests and finally let all of the people decide. Please join me in voting yes on Prop 105.

Matthew Clark, Executive Director, Golden Door Foundation, Chandler

 

Argument in Favor of The Majority Rule Initiative

As a small business owner that cares about promoting freedom and opportunity for all Arizonans, I encourage all Arizona voters to vote YES on Prop 105, the Majority Rule Initiative.

My belief in our representative government is why I support the Majority Rule Initiative. Unfortunately, the initiative process has diverted the electorate's attention away from who is in their State Legislatures, which is a detriment to our system and to the cause of freedom. That is why I believe Majority Rule is a critical step to begin to reform the process. By removing the ability for special interests to use ballot initiatives to raise our taxes and mandate increased spending, voters will shift their focus back where it belongs: our elected state leadership.

Passage of Majority Rule will improve the quality of our elected leadership, protect representative democracy, improve Arizona's economy, protect an individual's property from Government confiscation, and result in more freedom for future generations.

My Grandfather, Carl Karcher, started Carl's Jr. with a seventh grade education, a Hot Dog Cart, and hardly a penny to his name. This is possible only in a free enterprise system. The more the free enterprise system is encroached upon by taxes and spending that are mandated by special interest through the current initiative process, the more the free enterprise system is diminished.

The Majority Rule Initiative amends Arizona's Constitution to ensure that any new taxes or spending approved by the initiative process is not done by a small minority of Arizona voters. This initiative is a step towards freedom and protects the free enterprise system for all current and future Arizonans. Please join me in voting YES on Prop 105.

Jason LeVecke, CEO, MJKL Enterprises, Guadalupe

Margaret LeVecke, CMO, MJKL Enterprises, Guadalupe

Paid for by "MJKL Enterprises"

 

Arguments "Against" Proposition 105

 

Argument Against Prop 105

Majority Rules - Let the People Decide

This deceptive initiative is intended to tie the hands of voters in Arizona. PROP 105 will make it nearly impossible for civic and community organizations to impact public policy through the will of the voter. PROP 105 states that an initiative must gain more than 50 percent of qualified electors (all registered voters) to become law.

Proponents of Prop 105 are empowering registered voters who don't exercise their right and civic duty to vote. In this Presidential Election, Arizonans will come out to vote in masses; nearly 70 percent of registered voters will cast a ballot. If Prop 105 were in effect this election, a ballot initiative would have to achieve 75 percent of the vote to make up for the 30 percent of voters who opted to stay home.

Prop 105 and its proponents are giving a voice to apathy.

A vote in opposition will protect the rights of Arizonans to change public policy by the will of the voter. The Arizona Education Association requests a no vote on Prop 105.

John Wright, President, Arizona Education Association, Phoenix

Andrew Morrill, Vice-President, Arizona Education Association, Phoenix

Paid for by "Arizona Education Association"

 

Argument Against C-19-2008:

Vote no. This initiative destroys the foundation of democracy.

"We The People" decide by not only registering to vote - but actually voting. The winning side must obtain a 'simple majority' (i.e., 50 percent of those voting plus 1 vote).

Our fundamental democratic rights in the United States and in the State of Arizona are based on winning a 'simple majority' for making public policy and governance decisions. It is very hard to accomplish simple majority votes in any democracy.

This proposal causes a small minority to dictate that our social contract to abide by a simple majority vote is destroyed by their distorted, small minority sense of what is good for them, but a disaster for a democratic society. Specifically, they want a majority of registered voters plus 1 for new governmental revenues to be enacted.

The insanity of this position will be easily shown by looking at past Arizona General Election Yr-1998 and Yr-2006 turnout, and the distorted vote needed to get over this "insane threshold" proposal.

Only 45.8 percent voted in Yr-1998; therefore, even if 100 percent voted yes - it would have been impossible to enact any revenue issues. Even if 100 percent voted 'yes', the law would still not pass.

Only 64 percent voted in Yr-2006; therefore a 82 percent yes vote would have been needed to enact any revenue issues.

I am not arguing for more taxes, but if society votes for them with a simple majority, then so be it. That is democracy at work.

This proposal 'poisons-the-heart' of democracy by allowing minority rule to dictate social and governmental policy. Democracy can not survive such self-centered interests.

Defend democracy across Arizona by voting no on this proposal!!

Bradley K. Vandermark, Phoenix

 

Why should we let people that don't bother to vote decide an election? Prop. 105 would do this by counting people registered to vote - but who don't bring themselves to actually cast a ballot -- as a no vote in any initiative designed to raise funds for issues such as education. It is plain undemocratic, un-American and bad for Arizona. The Arizona School Boards Association, an organization made up of 230 school districts and their volunteer governing boards, urges you to vote against Prop. 105.

If Prop. 105 had been in effect in 2000 the voters would not have passed the six-tenths of a cent sales tax that has provided a funding stream of more than $2 billion to increase teacher salaries and classroom opportunities for public school children. Can you imagine our classrooms even more shortchanged than they already are - even less for teacher salaries, reducing class size and extending educational programs? 50th place: that is Arizona's ranking in per pupil funding on education Prop. 105 quite likely would make that ranking permanent.

Prop. 105 is one of the worst ideas to come along in a long time and would severely jeopardize Arizona's future. There are already checks and balances in place for initiatives that raise revenues; they are difficult, but not impossible. Prop. 105 doesn't make sense for this state. The Arizona School Boards Association urges you to defeat Prop. 105.

Suzanne Schweiger-Nitchals, President, Arizona School Boards Association, Phoenix

Panfilo H. Contreras, Executive Director, Arizona School Boards Association, Chandler

Paid for by "Arizona School Boards Association, Inc."

 

The so-called "Majority Rule Initiative", actually contradicts majority rule and allows a small minority of voters to overrule the will of the majority. Passage of this measure will destroy our citizen initiative process which has been a core constitutional right of Arizonans since we became a state in 1912.

This act would apply to almost every initiative placed on the ballot preventing Arizona voters from implementing programs that have even small administrative costs (Humane Treatment of Farm Animals), increase state revenues even without raising taxes (Indian Gaming), or raise the standard of living for Arizona's working poor (State Minimum Wage).

Requiring approval by a majority of all registered voters (including those who have died or moved out of state, but are still on the rolls), is not only undemocratic but will effectively kill any ballot measure, even extremely popular ideas that pass by more than a three-to-one margin at the polls. For example, in a typical Arizona general election with a 60 percent voter turnout, more than 83 percent of those voting would have to vote yes for any measure to pass. This means the 17 percent of voters who cared enough to vote "no" would have their way over the vast majority of voters who cared enough to vote "yes". This is not majority rule, it's minority tyranny!

If this measure had been in place since statehood popular ideas as diverse as our Heritage Fund for public parks, our Independent Redistricting Commission, Smoke Free Arizona, increased classroom funding, funding for early childhood development and Clean Elections all would have been defeated despite receiving majority votes due to their great appeal and broad benefits.

Maintain the American principle that every vote is equal by rejecting this undemocratic attack on our constitutional rights. Vote No on Prop 105.

Bart Turner, President, Clean Elections Institute, Glendale

Ann Eschinger, Vice President, Clean Elections Institute, Phoenix

Renz Jennings, Secretary/Treasurer, Clean Elections Institute, Phoenix  

Paid for by "Clean Elections Institute"

 

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, representing Arizona's hospitals, strongly opposes the so-called "Majority Rules Initiative," Proposition 105, because in reality it is the "Ultra-Minority Rules" initiative. It throws away the votes of responsible citizens who take the time to vote and gives power to people who do not vote.

Currently, ballot initiatives either pass or fail based on the majority of people voting. If Prop 105 passes, most citizen initiatives will fail unless they receive yes votes from a majority of all persons registered to vote--not a majority of people actually voting. Typically, only about 50 percent of registered voters actually vote. That would mean for nearly every initiative, every single person who takes the time to vote would have to vote for the initiative to make it become law. In other words, people who don't vote will actually have more power than citizens who take the time to go to the polls to vote.

If this "Ultra-Minority Rule" had been in effect before, we would not have Clean Elections to diminish the influence of special-interest money in state government; we would not have smoke-free restaurants and hotels; we would not have the Heritage Fund that protects our parks, trails and wildlife; we would not have the tobacco tax that helps fund healthcare for millions of Arizonans and we would not have the Arizona Indian Gaming initiative that funds emergency rooms and trauma centers all over Arizona. The initiatives that created all those programs would not be law even though they were passed by large majorities of the people voting. People who didn't vote would have had more power than people who did vote.

On behalf of hospitals throughout the state, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association strongly urges you to vote "no" on "Majority Rules" Proposition 105.

Adda Alexander, Executive Vice President, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association, Phoenix

James F. Haynes, Vice President, CFO, Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Assocaition, Phoenix

Paid for by "Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association"

 

Anyone reading this letter obviously is a conscientious voter. Congratulations on taking your right to vote seriously. Ironically, Prop 105 aims to marginalize you by diluting your right to vote.

The proposition says that any voter who takes the time (like you) to learn an issue can still vote "yes" or "no" on an initiative and all those who do not care to take the time and do not vote are counted as a "no". Why does that make sense? It doesn't.

Majority Rules is a dangerous constitutional amendment that guts your rights. Even if you and I as informed voters may not agree on an issue, yet we take the time to learn the issue and then vote on it, our voices should be heard equally. Not so according to Prop 105

Prop 105 wrongly puts the will of people who don't vote at our level of importance. It requires initiatives to receive the majority vote from all registered voters- even those who don't bother voting in essence cast a ballot. This proposition is being pushed by special interests who fear people like us because you and I actually vote. In a patronizing sweep of illogic, these groups (this proposition is being paid by the liquor and fast food industry) claim that anyone not actually voting would therefore be a "no". Why does that make sense? It doesn't.

Join me and other people who take voting seriously by rejecting Prop 105 with a no vote. Arizona deserves to have fair elections.

Slade Mead, Former State Senator, Phoenix

 

Vote no on "Majority Rules", Prop 105

We at Healthy Arizona have, twice, offered Arizona voters initiatives that made sense, and that brought healthcare to hundreds of thousands of hard-working, low income Arizona families. You've voted, overwhelmingly, each time, for what we've put on the ballot, because we are on your side, have no special interests to placate, and share your values. We are now asking you to vote no to stop corporate greed and give Arizonans the right to vote for the programs they deserve.

If this initiative had been in place, voters would never have been able to vote to use lawsuit settlement money, from the tobacco industry, for funding healthcare. If not for the voters of Arizona, over 300,000 citizens would not have health insurance!

Let's face it-- the Arizona Constitution gave voters this power because we need to have recourse when our legislature is not fulfilling the will of the people.

But now, the special interests want to limit our say. They'd let non-voters, who never even make it to the polls, overrule what the majority of voters want.

And this restriction only applies to initiatives where you decide to spend money, not ones that cut revenues. The legislature can still vote to stop revenues, and bankrupt the programs we support, like funding for schools and healthcare. If we pass this initiative, there's nothing we can do to correct it.

We say, Yes, let the people decide-- but only to those who actually vote. Decide to keep it that way. Vote no on Prop 105.

Eve Shapiro, MD, MPH, Chair, Healthy Arizona, Tucson

Paid for by "Healthy Arizona"

 

"Church Women United urges a No vote.

Did you vote, a few years ago, to increase the tax on cigarettes, in order to fund schools? Did you vote for the money, that Arizona got in a lawsuit to go to help hard-working, low-income families get healthcare? Did you vote for lottery money to go to preserve park land in Arizona? Do you think that new housing developments should pay a fee, to pay for the sewer hookups, etc? Would you vote for that? Would you vote for a tax on the sale of heavy gas-guzzling Hummers, to pay for the extra wear on our highways and extra pollution in our air?

If you said "yes," then you are with the majority of Arizonans. Or, at least, with the majority who vote. But then, this constitutional amendment no longer leaves such matters in the hands of those who vote. Read the last sentence-- "approved by a majority of qualified electors then registered to vote." If this measure passes, none of the things you've supported in the past, or want to support in the future, will pass. Because voters will be "outvoted" by nonvoters, under this thing.

Church Women United has no axe to grind in this. We are not special interest lobbyists, trying to undermine free elections. But, then, in our denominations, when elections are held, only those folks who show up in the pews, and at the conventions and meetings and councils, actually decide things. We don't consider ourselves "outvoted" by the folks who sleep in on Sundays. We cannot understand why voters who make it to the polls would allow the illusion that those, who don't, should cancel our votes.

Vote No."

Carolyn Redmore, President, Church Women United in Tucson, Tucson

Jane Rohwer, Finance Chairperson, Church Women United in Tucson, Tucson

Paid for by "Church Women United in Tucson"

 

"As Candidates of the Arizona Green Party, we urge a No vote.

This pretends to be about "the people" deciding, but [surprise!] it isn't.

For example, it creates a limitation on us voters, but only when we decide something is valuable enough to pay for. If this were such a good idea, why doesn't it cut both ways? If the decision is truly ours, then any limitation, in our constitution, should be even handed. After all, right now being able to run initiatives is the only way we voters have to bypass stalemates in the legislature, and get past the lobbyists' wish-lists for our tax dollars. Why tie our hands?

But, get this, it isn't about voters deciding, either. Because a majority of actual voters can't decide anything, ever again, if we pass this measure. Only a majority of "registered" voters. So if, say, 49 percent of registered voters make it to the polls, then, even with 100 percent approval, what we want fails. That's right-- the phantom voter, who doesn't cast a ballot, can cancel your vote. This measure disenfranchises people who actually vote, in favor of people who are registered, but do not vote.

The Green Party is about giving people more reasons to vote, not about presuming that folks who don't show up are somehow voting against funding education, healthcare, protecting the environment, the air, the land. We actually believe that voters are smart, and want to save the planet, even if it means taxing themselves, or taxing some special interest that is trying to pull a fast one on them. To learn more about this measure, and to read what about other initiatives, go to the AzGP website at www.azgp.org

Vote No. "

Claudia Ellquist, Green Party candidate for Pima County Attorney, Tucson

Kent Solberg, Green Party candidate for the Arizona House, Legislative District 27, Tucson

Paid for by "Kent Solberg for the House"

 

The "Majority Rules" initiative is anything but that - it's a backhanded attempt to basically end the citizens' initiative process in Arizona.

This proposal, Prop 105, would take everyone on the voter rolls who doesn't show up to vote - those who didn't bother to get a ballot or go to the polling place, people who have moved, even dead people - and count them as "no" votes. By requiring that a majority of all registered voters - not just those who show up, but all registered voters - to approve of an initiative, the promoters of this proposal would set up a threshold for passing an initiative that's almost impossible to meet.

In recent years, turnout in presidential election years may approach 60 percent - which means that about 83 percent of people who cast their ballots would have to approve of an initiative for it to pass. This would mean that even if a big majority of Arizonans who showed up to vote - 65, 75, 80 percent - approved of a proposal, it still couldn't pass.

This isn't "majority rules" - it's robbing voters of their chance to make important decisions about the future of our state.

The supporters of this initiative will say it's just about taxes - but really, the way it's written, Prop 105 would doom almost any voter initiative, because all of them require some kind of administrative cost in order to implement them.

If you care about the rights of Arizonans to vote on initiatives that are important to the future of Arizona, then you should vote no on Prop 105.

Alan Stephens, Phoenix

 

The so-called "Majority Rules" initiative's slogan is "Let the People Decide!" but it really should be "Let the Non-Voters Decide!"

If it passes, any initiative that involves a tax, fee, or other revenue source must be approved not by a majority of those voting, but by a majority of all registered voters. If someone didn't vote, they voted no.

Because not everybody votes, the initiative cedes power to those who don't vote. A typical off-year election has 50 percent turnout, so no spending or tax initiative could pass, even with 100 percent of the votes. It wouldn't be a majority of all registered voters.

Initiatives for taxes are the ballgame in Arizona, because supermajority legislative requirements mean a 33 percent minority can block everything. Making initiatives pass with a majority of registered voters would give a minority of 25 or 15 percent the same power. Ignore the spin; if this initiative passes, then it's the minority who will rule.

The initiative depends on a cute legal trick, switching the way people usually talk about elections with a deceptive phrase that means something entirely different. We're comfortable deciding things based on a majority of voters. That's how we elect candidates, right? But switching the common term "voter" for "qualified elector" means that those people who actually vote no longer get to decide, because those who don't vote suddenly count.

So vote no, then raise a toast to the Beer & Wine Distributors of Arizona, major funders of this truly bad idea. Hey, if they believe so deeply in majority rule, then liquor licenses should be approved by a majority of qualified electors, not just a namby-pamby majority of those voting.

After all, what sauce goes with both goose and gander? Beer and wine, baby, beer and wine.

Hon. Sam Coppersmith, Phoenix

Paid for by "Coppersmith Gordon Schemer & Brockelman PLC"

 

Protect Our Constitutional Rights:

Please Oppose Onerous Restrictions on Citizen Initiatives.

Vote "no" on Proposition 105.

Proposition 105 refers to the ballot yet another constitutional amendment that, if approved, would significantly restrict the ability of Arizona voters to enact laws via the initiative process, which is the only way we have been able to get many important protections and programs. For example, the Arizona Heritage Fund, which provides funding for parks and wildlife as well as for trails and playground equipment, was enacted via a citizen initiative and was approved by nearly a two-thirds vote. If Proposition 105 passes, even measures such as the Heritage Fund that receive overwhelming support would not pass as they would need a majority of everyone registered rather than of everyone who voted.

This proposition gives more power to the people who sit home and don't vote and dilutes the power of voters who take the time to learn about the measures and vote for or against each of them based on thoughtful consideration. We require no such hurdles for our elected officials; why should we require it of ballot measures?

The initiative and referendum process in some form is older than our country itself -- it dates back to the 1600s when via town meetings, communities voted on ordinances and other issues. The authors of the Arizona Constitution thought that the initiative and referendum process provided citizens with both a check on the legislative branch and on the then widespread corruption of big business and monopolies. They thought it was critical that the citizens have an equal opportunity to create laws directly via the initiative process. We agree with that.

Please vote "no" on Proposition 105.

Jim Vaaler, Chairperson, Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Chapter, Phoenix

Don Steuter, Conservation Chair, Sierra Club, Grand Canyon Chapter, Phoenix

Paid for by "Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter"

 

Democracy is Not a Spectator Sport

Transparency in Government

Voters Have a Responsibility to Vote and Government Has a Responsibility to Voters

The League of Women Voters holds these three tenets. They are not beliefs embodied in Prop 105.

Why is the proposition not transparent? Because it is misleading. Voters read "majority rules" and support that. The League strongly supports majority rule, but this is something else. This proposition changes our election process. It takes away the voter's voice and gives it to others. The proposition is not about the majority of Voters; it is about the majority of possible voters.

Additionally misleading is that voters who support fiscal responsibility may find they have done just the reverse. In all practicality, Prop 105 eliminates citizens' ability to establish or adjust funding for programs and services - including safe roads, jails, prisons, public safety, schools, libraries, parks, or effective police and fire protection. Once locked into law, it may be difficult to ever repeal.

We think voting is both a right and a responsibility. Not everyone acknowledges this responsibility. That is their choice. But why should those who do not vote have as much say in governance as voters who take their responsibility seriously?

Why should government interpret the wishes of 'no-show people' who are not 'voters'? The assumption here is that people who haven't voted would vote 'no'. But how can anyone know? Government must be responsible to those who Do vote - not allow others to cancel their vote.

Prop 105 violates our principles of democracy. It violates 'one-person, one-vote' voting. It steals the voice of voters.

Democracy is not a spectator sport - one must vote to be counted. Let's protect the Voter's voice.

Vote No on Proposition 105.

Dr. Bonnie F. Saunders, President, League of Women Voters of Arizona, Surprise

Dr. Barbara Klein, First VP, League of Women Voters of Arizona, Scottsdale

Paid for by "League of Women Voters of Arizona"

 

Look at the citizens' initiatives that voters have passed in recent years by overwhelming margins - more resources for early childhood education and health, laws for the humane treatment of farm animals, the creation of an independent redistricting commission.

Now think if all of these initiatives, which won overwhelming support at the ballot box, couldn't become law because it fell short of the threshold it needed to pass - 83 percent of those who came to vote.

Do you think that would be majority rule? Well, there's a group of people who think so - and who also think that 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent approval just isn't enough consensus for the citizens of Arizona to be able to make their own laws.

The so-called "Majority Rules" initiative, Prop 105, would basically count everyone who doesn't show up to the polls - even those who remain on the voting rolls but have moved, or are even dead - as "no" votes against citizen initiatives. Because at the highest, voter turnout has gotten up to 60 percent in recent years, it would mean that an initiative would have to pass by more than a 6-to-1 margin to win.

Can you think of the last time that voters approved of anything by a 6-to-1 margin? It's tough to remember one - examples are very rare.

I don't know why the supporters of Prop 105 don't trust Arizonans to make their own laws. But it seems like common sense that if the citizens want to place a proposal on the ballot, it shouldn't take some kind of super-majority to pass.

It's overwhelmingly clear that if you support the democratic process and citizens' initiative, you should vote against gutting the ability of Arizonans to make laws for themselves, and vote no on Prop 105.

Tim Hill, President, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Glendale

Mike Colletto, Legislative Director, Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, Glendale

Paid for by "Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona"

 

Majority Rules is a catchy title for a measure that in reality would thwart the will of the people and their constitutional right to make law through the initiative process. While it sounds good, Majority Rules is in reality a title designed to deflect its real intent.

The framers of Arizona's Constitution had it right in 1912 when they wrote into the Constitution the people's right to decide policy matters when they disagree with their elected officials.

While "Majority Rules" sounds democratic, it is cleverly designed to make any initiative of the people virtually impossible to pass. It would require a majority of registered voters to pass an initiative, a very daunting task. We elect representatives by a simple majority of those who chose to vote. Why would we willingly give up the right to pass or reject initiatives in the same manner?

After nearly 100 years, the initiative process has become ingrained as part of the state's governance structure. I don't believe we should support weakening it or rendering it powerless. Apathy should not be a weapon to hinder the rights of those who take the time to be involved in the process.

If Majority Rules were in place, most, if not all, of the public safety, immigration, education and infrastructure initiatives that have recently passed would have failed. It cuts across the board for conservatives, moderates and liberals alike.

We believe this is bad public policy that has would have a serious and detrimental negative impact on Arizona's future. And, as the CEO and CFO of Phoenix Children's Hospital whose sole purpose it is to make our children's lives better, I urge all Arizonans to reject this misguided proposition.

Sincerely,

Robert Meyer, CEO, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix

Larry Smith, CFO, Phoenix Children's Hospital, Phoenix

Paid for by "Phoenix Children's Hospital"

 

Vote No on Majority Rules

Among the 2.7 million people registered in Arizona, more than 500,000 are listed by the Secretary of State as "inactive" - meaning they have died or moved away. If Majority Rules passes, each of these non-existent voters is given a vote in Arizona. Majority Rules brings Chicago-style politics to Arizona. Vote No and keep control of Arizona votes in the hands of living Arizonans who care about their country and their state.

Majority Rules would effectively take away the right of Arizona citizens to petition their government.

As example:

In 2006, Prop 103, English as the Official Language, 74 percent of Arizonans voted Yes. Under Majority Rules, it would have failed because more than 83 percent of the voters would have had to agree.

In 2006, Prop 207, Private Property Rights Protection, 65 percent of Arizonans voted Yes. Under Majority Rules, it would have failed because more than 83 percent of the voters would have had to agree.

In 2006, Prop 203, Early Childhood Education, 53 percent of Arizonans voted Yes. Under Majority Rules, it would have failed because more than 83 percent of the voters would have had to agree.

Majority Rules virtually removes the right to petition government in Arizona. If you believe our citizens should have the right to voice their opinion and force politicians to listen, then you should Vote No.

Remember, Majority Rules would allow 19 percent of people registered (one half million) who are most likely dead or no longer in Arizona to have their votes "counted" in every election. Vote No On Majority Rules!

Rick DeGraw, Phoenix

 

WESTMARC urges a No Vote on Proposition 105!

WESTMARC is a regional coalition of business, government, and education that advocates for good public policy. As a partnership between business and government, it is paramount that we thoroughly consider public policy issues and work collaboratively toward public policy that is good for our West Valley region and our state.

WESTMARC has thoroughly reviewed Proposition 105 and does not believe that the Majority Rules - Let the People Decide Initiative will be beneficial to our region or our state.

WESTMARC believes in the fundamental principles of majority rule that our forefathers laid before us, and that this Initiative actually violates those principles.

WESTMARC further believes that:

Arizona already has many constitutional and voter protected mechanisms in place to limit and control taxes at all levels of government;

overlaying this Initiative on existing taxpayer protections would be devastating to the state's ability to address future funding needs;

this Initiative would exacerbate our state budget situation instead of improving it;

this constitutional change is unnecessary because of existing taxpayer protections;

our government system is a democratic republic, not a populist government; we elect people to represent us in government, that citizens have the right to choose to vote or not, and that if citizens choose not to vote that the majority of voters should not be penalized for others not exercising their right.

WESTMARC's opposition to this Initiative is based on majority rule - a majority of the quorum attending our Board of Directors meeting opposed it!

We encourage you to join WESTMARC in opposing this Initiative and urge you to vote No on Proposition 105!

Ray L. Jones, Chairman, WESTMARC, Peoria

Jack W. Lunsford, President & CEO, WESTMARC, Peoria

Paid for by "WESTMARC"

 

The Arizona Advocacy Network urges you to vote No on Prop 105. Passage would effectively eliminate the constitutional right of Arizona citizens to make law by popular vote. The requirement that citizen initiatives receive a YES vote from a majority of all registered voters (not of those who actually vote as in all other American elections) creates a barrier that is impossible to overcome. No initiative passed in the past seven elections has met that standard and all would have failed had this measure been in place, including such popular measures as requiring humane treatment of farm animals, increasing the minimum wage, providing health insurance to the poor, or restricting state benefits to citizens and legal residents

This initiative automatically makes every registered voter who has moved, died, been turned away at the polls due to lack of ID, or who doesn't bother to get up off the couch on election day into a No vote. In a typical Arizona election an initiative would have to pass by a 6-1 majority of those voting to overcome this built-in handicap.

This would only apply to measures put onto the ballot by citizens. Ballot measures created by the Legislature would still only require a simple majority of those voting. Why this double standard? The people behind this initiative think they can use their influence to control the Legislature; it's the people they don't trust.

Our rights as citizens are being slowly restricted, reduced, and removed. Don't be manipulated into agreeing to give up your own historic rights as Arizona citizens. Vote No on Prop 105.

Michael J. Valder, President, Arizona Advocacy Network, Phoenix

Eric Ehst, Treasurer, Arizona Advocacy Network, Phoenix

Paid for by "Arizona Advocacy Network"

 

Argument Against Majority Rules

Arizona voters need to defeat Prop 105. Why give voters who do not vote a significant say in the outcome of an election. For example, in the last statewide election held in November of 2006, only 1,553,032 of the 2,568,401 registered voters actually voted. Therefore, to gather enough yes votes to pass an initiative covered by Prop. 105 it would have required over 80 percent of the voters who actually voted to have voted yes for an initiative to pass.

In reality no initiative would likely be able to gather a yes vote by over 80 percent of the individuals who actually voted. Therefore, in this example the individuals who were registered to vote but did not vote had a very significant say in the outcome. This is not the American way to determine the outcome of an election. Vote no on Prop. 105.

David Peterson, Vice President, Arizona Association of School Business Officials, Phoenix

Chuck Essigs, Director of Government Relations, Arizona Association of School Business Officials, Phoenix

Paid for by "Chuck Essigs"

 

Arizona NOW strongly urges you to vote No on Prop 105, the Majority Rule Initiative. This measure is undemocratic and violates the fundamental principle of every vote being equal. Passage of this change would allow a small minority of voters to thwart the will of the majority and block passage of popular and necessary programs. NOW has consistently advocated for policies that benefit women, children, and families. Through the constitutionally guaranteed initiative process, voters have enacted many such popular and important ideas. These include Healthy Arizona (health insurance for the working poor, a disproportionate number of which are single mothers and children); Prop 301 (increased funding for classroom education); and First Things First (funding for early childhood development). If this measure had been in place, none of these vital programs would have been passed, despite receiving a majority of the votes cast. If Prop 105 passes, we citizens will never again be able to control our own fate and decide where to place our state resources.

The backers of Prop 105, heavily funded by the liquor industry, want to eliminate the citizens' historic ability to pass laws and give all of the power to the state Legislature, which they can more easily influence.

Arizona has always been a leader in providing for the rights of its citizens. We provided women the vote in 1912, ahead of the rest of the nation, but that initiative would also have failed if Prop 105 had been in effect. Protect your vote; vote No.

Eric Ehst, Policy Coordinator (President), Arizona National Organization of Women, Phoenix

Marge Mead, Legislative Coordinator (Vice President), Arizona National Organization of Women, Sun City

Paid for by "Arizona National Organization of Women"

 

Arizona Women's Political Caucus

Argument Opposing C-19-2008

The Arizona Women's Political Caucus urges you to vote No on Prop 105.

Requiring a Yes vote on a ballot issue from a majority of all registered voters (instead of a majority of those who actually vote, as in all other American elections) would make it nearly impossible to pass any ballot measure.

As a result, this proposition would disproportionately disadvantage women and families. Consider all the family-friendly ballot measures passed by voters that would have been impossible to pass under the rules of this proposition: the increase in the minimum wage, the extension of health benefits under Healthy Arizona, the added funding for early childhood education to name a few.

Just as the economy has shifted, so have some of the social and economic realities of women's lives. More women than ever are working in the paid labor force, and they continue to earn less than men. Women's work in the home remains undervalued. Due to the lower earned income, it is women who are disproportionately living in poverty both before and after retirement.

Women more than men are responsible for caring for children and for aging parents, navigating the health care system often without the benefit of adequate health insurance.

The ballot initiative process is one way that citizens can promote improvements in public policy when our Legislature fails to act.

This proposition ignores the voices of people who vote on election day in favor of those who merely register and stay home. The votes cast in any election should matter more than those not cast.

Vote No on Prop 105.

Karen Ford Manza, Board Member, Arizona Women's Political Caucus, Phoenix

Eleanor Eisenberg, President, Arizona Women's Political Caucus, Phoenix

Paid for by "Eleanor Eisenberg"

 

Ballot Argument-Animal Defense League of Arizona

Vote No On Proposition 105

The Animal Defense League of Arizona urges you to vote No on Proposition 105. This measure carries the misleading title of "Majority Rules". However, it would deprive the majority of voters participating in an election of the right to decide ballot initiatives. It would virtually eliminate citizens' initiatives in Arizona. When the founders of Arizona met at our state's Constitutional Convention, they held initiative rights as one of the most sacred. In fact, when Arizona's founders received pressure from the federal government to forego initiative rights as a condition of statehood, they said no.

Prop 105 not only desecrates voting rights, it is contrary to the principles on which Arizona was founded. Initiatives are an important check on other branches of government. Initiatives have been utilized to protect Arizona animals when the Legislature refused to act. For example, Arizona was one of the last states to outlaw cockfighting. Beginning in the 1950's for over an almost 40-year period, every bill aimed at banning the barbaric blood sport died in the State Legislature. However, the first time Arizona's citizens were given a chance to vote on cockfighting in 1998, the citizens' initiative passed by an overwhelming margin of 68 percent. That would not be enough under the "Majority Rules" initiative.

On behalf of Arizona's animals and the animal protection community, we urge you to vote No on Proposition 105. Please allow our grassroots, volunteer signature-gathering efforts to continue as a tool for animal protection in Arizona.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Nichols-Young, President, Animal Defense League of Arizona, Phoenix

Karen Michael, Secretary, Animal Defense League of Arizona, Peoria

Paid for by "Animal Defense League of Arizona"

 

The Humane Society of the United States, the nation's largest animal protection organization, with more than 213,000 members and supporters in Arizona, strongly opposes Prop 105. This measure is another cynical and underhanded power grab by special interest groups and industry lobbyists who want to prevent Arizona voters from exercising their right to direct democracy and the lawmaking process.

In 2006, voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition 204 to provide more humane treatment of farm animals, by a landslide vote of 62 percent to 38 percent. The initiative won majorities in 12 of 15 counties across the state. Industrial factory farms in the state will phase out the cruel confinement of calves and pigs in small cages where they don't even have enough room to turn around and stretch their limbs. The measure prevents animal cruelty and protects Arizona's environment from factory farm waste.

But the initiative could not have passed if the changes mandated by Prop 105 had been in place. Although it had the overwhelming support of the majority of people who voted, it would not have met the nearly impossible threshold of a majority of all registered voters in the state. Indeed, no ballot initiative could meet that standard, and Prop 105 is a de facto ban on the ballot initiative process.

People who have died or moved and are still on the voter rolls, or people who simply choose not to vote or don't make it to the polls, should not be considered automatic "No" votes. No candidate is held to that standard, and no ballot initiative should be either. It's undemocratic and unworkable. The Humane Society of the United States urges all Arizonans to protect their voting rights, by voting "No" on Prop 105.

Kari Nienstedt, Arizona State Director, The Humane Society of the United States, Scottsdale

Wayne Pacelle, President & CEO, The Humane Society of the United States, Gaithersburg, MD

Thomas Waite, Chief Financial Officer, The Humane Society of the United States, Gaithersburg, MD

Paid for by "The Humane Society of the United States"

 

Dear Arizona Voters,

The "Majority Rules" ballot measure will undermine citizens' rights to petition their government through citizens' initiatives.

This right has been treasured by Arizonans of all stripes since we were a territory, and must be protected against this dangerous ballot measure.

The sponsors want to prevent future citizens' initiatives from being approved by requiring the support of the majority of all registered voters. This includes voters who do not go to the polls on Election Day.

The result would be that most citizens' initiatives would require more than 80 percent of actual votes in order to pass.

Tucsonans and all Arizonans have strongly supported valuable initiatives to invest in vital services such as public education and healthcare. These important efforts would not have succeeded if Prop 105 had been in law at the time.

If Prop 105 were to pass, our future would be taken out of our hands and placed in the hands of the liquor and fast food industries that back this proposal.

Vote in our best interests, not theirs.

Please vote no to Prop 105.

Sincerely,

Steve Farley, State Representative, Legislative District 28, Tucson

Paid for by "Jonathan Pitel"

 

To Arizona Voters:

"Majority Rules" is a dangerous amendment to our constitution that guts Arizona's citizens initiative process and waters down the constitutional concept of "one person, one vote."

This measure tampers with our constitution by putting the will of people who don't vote above those who do. Prop 105 requires initiatives to receive the majority vote from ALL registered voters -- even those who don't bother to cast a ballot. This dilutes the power of those Arizonans who invest the time and effort to vote and puts special interests above the will of the people. This reckless initiative will prevent Arizonans who vote from having their voices heard when it comes to important initiatives.

Time and time again, voters have supported and passed initiatives that improve the quality of life in Arizona- strengthening public education, expanding access to health care and building critical infrastructure.

Majority Rules will put a stop to these important initiatives, moving Arizona backwards.

Vote NO on Prop 105. Let's keep Arizona moving forward.

Sincerely,

Thomas Ziemba, Phoenix

Paid for by "Jonathan Pitel"

 

Ballot Format

Proposition 105

Proposed Amendment To The Constitution

By The Initiative Relating To The Initiative

 

OFFICIAL TITLE

MAJORITY RULE-LET THE PEOPLE DECIDE ACT

PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA: AMENDING ARTICLE IV, PART 1, CONSTITUTION OF ARIZONA, BY ADDING SECTION 1.1 RELATING TO INITIATIVE MEASURES AND REQUIRING THAT ANY MANDATORY TAX OR SPENDING INCREASE BE ENACTED BY A MAJORITY OF QUALIFIED ELECTORS.

DESCRIPTIVE TITLE

REQUIRES AN INITIATIVE MEASURE THAT ESTABLISHES, IMPOSES OR RAISES A TAX, FEE, OR OTHER REVENUE, OR MANDATES A SPENDING OBLIGATION, WHETHER ON A PRIVATE PERSON, LABOR ORGANIZATION, OTHER PRIVATE LEGAL ENTITY OR STATE, SHALL NOT BECOME LAW UNLESS THE MEASURE IS APPROVED BY A MAJORITY OF QUALIFIED ELECTORS REGISTERED TO VOTE.

 

A "yes" vote shall have the effect of requiring that a majority of registered voters approve any initiative measure establishing, imposing or raising a tax, fee, or other revenue, or mandating a spending obligation, whether on a private person, labor organization, other private legal entity, or the state, in order to become law. Yes

A "no" vote shall have the effect of retaining the current law under which an initiative measure is enacted upon approval of a majority of registered voters that vote on the measure. No

 

 

The Ballot Format displayed in HTML reflects only the text of the Ballot Proposition and does not reflect how it will appear on the General Election Ballot.
Spelling, grammar, and punctuation were reproduced as submitted in the "for" and "against" arguments.

 

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JANICE K. BREWER
Arizona Secretary of State

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© September 2008