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Nussbaum: Legislation strips away petitioning power


I recently learned of a complaint filed to Secretary of State Adrian Fontes by Third Way, a national think tank that champions modern center-left ideas. True to their label, they do advocate center-left ideals on their website.

However, one thing that they are not moderate about is their hard stance against third party candidates. In the complaint, Third Way charges Independent presidential candidate Robert Kennedy Jr. and the Superpac American Values 24 of coordinating to collect signatures, which is a violation of the rules regarding Superpacs.

They contend that according to Arizona law, Mr. Kennedy must “designate in writing to the Secretary of State the names of the candidates for presidential elector who will represent the presidential candidate ‘before any signatures for the candidate can be accepted for filing.’”

Furthermore, they contend that Mr. Kennedy is “responsible for verifying the correct number of signatures are obtained based on January 2, 2024 voter registration totals.” Both of which amount to coordination or intention to coordinate.

I could argue the minutiae of these laws, but I’m sure AV 24 lawyers already have a case prepared on that front. As an Arizona voter and a volunteer circulator for the Kennedy campaign, I urge consideration of the spirit of the law rather than the trivialities of the letter of the law, which can be twisted to serve any personal interest rather than the will of the voters.

The spirit of all voter laws is to protect the rights and will of the voter. The only question that should be asked in this case is “Did the registered Arizona voters who signed this petition know that they were doing so to get Robert Kennedy Jr. on the ballot for the 2024 presidential election?” If the answer to this is yes, then their voices through petition should be honored.

I have lived in Arizona almost 40 years and during this time, I have seen voters rights being eroded by legislation that slowly strips away the petitioning power and voting rights of the people. I’ve seen districts being gerrymandered to give an advantage to political parties.

Nationally, I have seen similar erosion of voters’ choices as the DNC and the RNC manipulate outcomes to move their candidates forward, leaving the voters to choose between the lesser of two evils.

When considering whether or not to accept the signatures on Mr. Kennedy’s behalf, the will of over 75,000 Arizona voters should be weighed more heavily than the will of an “independent think tank.”

Denise Nussbaum

petitions, politics