Campaign Finance & Election
Campaigns should be open and free, not prone to manipulation through government financing schemes. And now the U.S. Supreme Court agrees.
What happened to bring about this challenge?
This past legislative session, the Arizona legislature passed House Bill 2593, which made three major changes to Arizona's political contribution limits. The new law dramatically raised the amount that each individual or committee can give to a candidate, it eliminated the aggregate political action committee limit, and it eliminated the individual aggregate limit.
Like most states across the country, Arizona has long suffered from abysmally low voter turnout in local elections. In the state’s two largest cities – Phoenix and Tucson – voter turnout rates for the most recent local candidate elections hovered at a mere 30 percent.
Today the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case with huge ramifications for Arizona—and for federalism.
Shelby County, Alabama is challenging the constitutionality of section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which was designed to bring into line states and local governments that were likely to resist the Voting Rights Act.
Arizona Students’ Association student directors from the UA on several occasions have criticized the recent Goldwater Institute report entitled “Welcome to the Real World” of being factually incorrect.
Arizona voters would turn the state's electoral system upside down this fall if they approve an open primary in which all could vote and the top two, regardless of party, would compete in the general election.
Would such a system improve or degrade the existing process? Arizona Week asked two key protagonists to discuss Proposition 121.
Paul Johnson, a former Phoenix mayor and chairman of the Open Government Committee, which is pushing the proposition, and Clint Bolick, vice president of litigation for the Goldwater Institute in Phoenix, faced off.
Proponents of Prop. 121, the “top two” Arizona ballot initiative, contend it will lead to the weakening of the two major political parties. But the opposite is true. In fact, it would strengthen them while killing third parties, all to the detriment of voter choices.
In the culmination of what's been a vigorous challenge to the credibility of Arizona's Clean Elections Act, Judge Aceto has ordered David Burnell Smith to leave office because of campaign finance violations. The judge found "that Representative Smith has usurped, intruded into and unlawfully holds or exercises the office of District 7 state representative."
While most voters are focused on the national election, Arizona voters need to pay careful attention to a ballot measure that could imperil freedom in our state.
Even though campaign finance laws interfere with constitutional rights of free speech and association, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that the government may impose regulations on financial contributions to campaigns if it has a good enough reason to do so. The Court has recognized only one justification for curtailing the right to engage in political activity without governmental interference. That justification is combating corruption or the appearance of corruption.