Proposition on citizens’ initiative petition deadline headed for recount
Election officials across Arizona will have to process 1.75 million ballots again to determine whether the deadline for submitting citizens' ballot initiatives will move up by two months.
Proposition 112 trailed by just 123 votes in unofficial returns, setting up the first statewide general election recount anyone in the Arizona Secretary of State's Office can recall.
"This is certainly a unique situation," said Matt Benson, the office's director of communications.
It's the first statewide recount since a closed 1994 Democratic primary for U.S. Senate.
State law requires a recount if the margin in a statewide race is less than or equal to 200 votes.
The measure is trailing with 792,820 no votes to 792,697 yes votes in unofficial returns. In Pima County, the proposition received 156,301 yes votes and 135,337 no votes.
The statewide recount cannot begin until the Secretary of State's Office releases the state general election canvass on Nov. 29. The office then will present the results to a Superior Court judge who will order the recount.
Officials for each Arizona county will have to run ballots back through optical scan machines or re-tally the counts on touchscreen machines, depending on the type of machine used by a county. That process is expected to take 10 business days.
Results will be determined by mid-December at the earliest.
Benson said the state will bear the $150,000 to $200,000 cost of the recount.
"The state budgeted for statewide election expenses, and through efficiencies and savings we've got enough to cover these costs," Benson said.
Proposition 112 would move the ballot initiative submission deadline from July 1 to May 1 of an election year, allowing more time for state officials to verify petition signatures and for citizens to pursue legal challenges against proposed initiatives. The House and Senate voted unanimously to refer the measure to the ballot.
Rep. Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix, who co-sponsored the legislation, said he remains cautiously optimistic that the measure will pass.
"We just have to wait for the process to work its way through," Campbell said. "If in the end it doesn't pass, we'll just have to come back together again next year to see what we can do to improve it."
Meanwhile, final results confirmed the demise of Proposition 110, which would have amended the state constitution to permit the sale or exchange of state trust land to protect military installations or for conservation. The measure was failing by 9,275 votes in unofficial returns.