Secretary Bennett Responds to State Supreme Court Opinion
PHOENIX - Arizona’s Supreme Court has released its final opinion regarding the lawsuit filed against the Secretary of State’s office by proponents of a failed ballot measure which would have permanently increased state sales taxes to fund education and infrastructure projects. The opinion affirms Secretary Bennett’s position that the office acted lawfully and reasonably in rejecting the ballot measure because petitions signed by voters did not match the official language filed in the office. Additionally, the Court ruled the state would not pay attorneys’ fees, which resulted in a savings of taxpayer dollars.
“Today’s opinion released by the state Supreme Court regarding the lawsuit is extremely gratifying and reassuring,” said Secretary Bennett. “From the moment our office discovered the error made by the Quality Education and Jobs committee, we knew litigation was imminent regardless of whether or not we accepted the filing. It was extremely satisfying to see the court concurred that the ballot measure committee precipitated the lawsuit by inadvertently submitting differing versions of the measure.
“Our office precisely follows the laws, policies and procedures which guide the ballot measure process from beginning to end. We were pleased to see that the Court agreed we had not acted arbitrarily or capriciously or wasted judicial resources as suggested by the trial court judge. We believe the Court’s opinion validates our position that we proceeded properly in bringing this issue to court.
“To avoid uncertainty in the future, our office will consider making changes to clarify the process related to the submission and acceptance of official filings as suggested by the Court. If voter confusion were to be established in future cases similar to this, the result could very well be different.”