The Center filed two “friend of the court” briefs in the Arizona Supreme Court supporting efforts to permit people to sign petitions online rather than requiring circulators to go door-to-door during the coronavirus pandemic. Danny Adelman recently explained why The Center is standing up for direct democracy in an article in the Arizona Capitol Times.
In the first brief, we were proud to represent the Professional Fire Fighters of Arizona, an individual battalion chief, and Will Humble, the director of the Arizona Public Health Association. We explained that requiring “in person” circulation of petitions during this pandemic is a terrible policy that will only serve to increase the spread of the coronavirus.
This is especially dangerous for the thousands of fire fighters and health care workers in Arizona who are fighting to save lives but are being exposed to the coronavirus at rates higher than virtually any other profession. Even if petition circulators use gloves and masks, that only puts additional strain on supplies of PPE that our first responders need.
In our second brief, we explained that failing to allow online signatures will essentially deprive hundreds of thousands of older Arizonans of their constitutional rights to participate in the initiative process in Arizona. Our government at every level is telling older adults to self-quarantine at home and stay away from other people. Younger people are being told not to visit retirement communities, senior living centers, long term care facilities, etc.
If people follow these emphatic orders, then there will be no opportunity for older Arizonans to exercise their constitutional right to sign petitions in support of initiatives they support. We were pleased to represent the League of Women Voters of Arizona and two older Arizonans who do not want to see their entire age group frozen out of direct democracy in Arizona.