What does this mean for elections in Arizona's communities?
Q. Can the candidate filing deadline for the Aug 4, 2020 election be extended past April 6, 2020 No, the deadline is statutory (see A.R.S. § 16-311) and the city or town has no authority to change it. Further, the election timetable is tight and subsequent actions (candidate challenges, ballot preparation, etc.) are dependent on each deadline. Unless the legislature extends the deadline by amending statute or a court orders a later date, the deadline is firm. Charter cities may have some flexibility but if the county is managing the election, the city may be dependent on their agreement with the administration and unable to change the deadline.
Q. Can a candidate submit their petitions and nomination paperwork electronically by scanning the documents and emailing them to the clerk? There is no statutory, case law or Procedures Manual prohibition on electronic submissions but there is also no protocol for this type of petition submission. Submitting petitions electronically raises questions on how the clerk can distinguish fraudulent petitions or how to review copies that may be incomplete because they are not scanned properly (e.g. columns or information cut off). Overall, the candidate is opening themselves up to a legal challenge by other candidates who will have trouble determining this same information. A city or town must consult with their attorney to determine if this is an option. If the city or town proceeds, it is important to develop a consistent protocol and require originals to be mailed to the clerk before the deadline.
Q. Can candidates mail their filings to the clerk? There is no prohibition in state law for filings to be mailed, however, it is necessary to discuss with your attorney. There is no designated procedure, but a protocol was sent to the clerks to use as a template if this is an option that is pursued. There is no requirement to allow filings by mail.