Q. Doesn't the initiative process need at least some reform?
A. That’s not the issue here. The Legislature didn’t reform the citizen initiative process—they decimated it. This is a concerted effort to destroy the rights granted to the Arizona voter at statehood in order for legislators to hold all of the power.
Q. Legislators say this is necessary because of the risk of voter fraud. Your response?
A. That’s nonsense and they know it. There has never been a single instance in which an individual was prosecuted for voter fraud as part of the initiative process. It is interesting to note, however, that there have been several controversies over the years regarding fraudulent nominating petitions of candidates for the Legislature, with a number of candidates forced to withdrawal from their race before prosecution occurred.
Q. Legislators say this is necessary because out-of-state money has an undue influence on the initiative process. Your response?
A. On occasion, that’s true. When the Legislature wouldn’t pass a law to ban smoking in restaurants and public places, for example, support from out-of-state funders was critical to beat back the tobacco lobby that, at that time, controlled the Legislature. When the Legislature killed 22 bills to ban cockfighting over a 38-year period, small-dollar contributions from around the country supplemented the money raised by Arizonans to pass an initiative banning this truly inhumane and cruel practice. Simply put, this argument rings hollow, especially as the many of the politicians who make this argument also seek and accept dollars from out of state sources to fund their own campaigns.