Signature fraud alleged for energy initiative

Arizonans for Affordable Electricity, the committee formed in opposition to the Clean Energy initiative led by California billionaire Tom Steyer, filed a lawsuit today in Arizona Superior Court challenging the validity of more than 300,000 signatures.

On July 5th, proponents of the Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona initiative filed a purported 480,000 signatures in hopes of qualifying for the November ballot. The measure would require regulated utilities to produce 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2030.

According to the filing, plaintiffs allege no more than 106,441 of the initiative campaign’s signatures are valid. The findings include:

  • 195,339 of these signatures were from individuals not registered to vote in Arizona
  • 74,227 signatures were included on improperly or non-notarized petitions;
  • 20,092 signers did not provide a first and last name or failed to sign their full name, as required by law;
  • 12,591 individuals signed the petition more than once;
  • 168 signatures were collected by petition circulators with felony criminal records. 

“Our painstaking review of every petition submitted by the initiative campaign has uncovered widespread forgery and deception and an utter disregard for Arizona law and elections procedures. This is truly fraud on a grand scale,” said Matthew Benson, spokesman with Arizonans for Affordable Electricity. “A mountain of evidence makes clear the initiative campaign has fallen far short of submitting the valid signatures necessary to qualify this proposal for the ballot. It’s critical that the court protect Arizona voters and uphold the law by blocking this initiative from proceeding to the ballot.”

Recent campaign finance filings revealed that Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona has been primarily funded by Steyer through his organization NextGen Climate Action. The organization, based in San Francisco, has contributed more than four million dollars to the ballot committee, primarily to pay for the signature gathering effort.

Lorna Romero

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