November 8 is almost upon us, and its ballot will ask Arizonans to make important decisions that will impact our state for decades to come. The 2022 election features several races and ballot measures that will impact our civil rights and liberties — we understand that it can be overwhelming so we prepared this guide so that voters can make informed decisions on ballot measures that will impact all Arizonans.
Protecting and advancing the rights of all Arizonans will require all of us to get involved, be informed, and to exercise our right to vote.
Dates to Remember: 2022 General Election Timeline
The 2022 General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 8.
Vote by mail begins on October 12. Request a mail-in ballot here.
October 28 is the last day to request a mail-in ballot.
November 1 is the last day to mail your ballot back.
In-person early voting begins on October 12. Voters can find an in-person early voting location to vote in person or drop off their ballot here.
Ballot Initiatives and Referendum
The Constitution of Arizona allows voters or the state legislature to propose new laws by placing them on the ballot for a vote. Ballot initiatives are voter-proposed laws or constitutional amendments. To qualify for the ballot, an initiative needs 356,467 signatures for a constitutional amendment, and 237,645 for a law.
Ballot referendums are measures referred to the public for a vote by the state legislature. They need only a majority vote of the legislature to be placed on the ballot.
Ballot referendum petitions are voter challenges to laws imposed by the state. They need 118,823 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
In Arizona, the ballot initiative process has been a source of positive change — the legalization of medical marijuana, the minimum wage increase, and legalization of recreational marijuana use, have all been approved by voter initiatives in recent years. It is due to the success of past initiatives, and the possibility for additional future ones, that the Arizona legislature has referred several measures that would severely limit our ability to place initiatives on the ballot.
Below is a summary and the ACLU of Arizona position on the five measures that we believe will have a significant impact on civil liberties and rights along in Arizona.
Ballot Measures: click on each measure to learn more about our position.
Fair Treatment for Arizona Students – Proposition 308
Prop 308 would end the unfair practice of charging some Arizona students more than others for college. A YES vote on Prop 308 would allow all Arizona students who graduate from Arizona high schools to pay the same rate for in-state tuition.
Currently, Dreamers who are residents of Arizona and graduated from an Arizona high school pay higher tuition than other Arizona students to attend our universities. Dreamers are Arizona kids, and they deserve the same opportunities as other Arizona kids. This is their home and they should be treated fairly when it comes to paying for college.
Weakening the Voter Protection Act - Proposition 128
Prop 128 is a blatant power grab — and will allow lawmakers to rewrite laws that have already been passed by the people. In 1998, Arizona voters approved the Voter Protection Act (VPA), which amended the Arizona Constitution to protect voters' rights to enact laws by the initiative process. The VPA prohibits the legislature from amending, appropriating funds from, or overriding initiatives passed by the voters unless such actions “furthers the purpose” of the measure and requires a vote by 3/4 of the state legislature.
Prop 128 allows lawmakers to amend or override initiatives by a simple majority vote if any portion has been found to contain illegal or unconstitutional language, regardless if the overall initiative is legal and constitutional, and without the limitation to “further the purpose” of the measure. In other words, rather than amending only illegal or unconstitutional language, the legislature would have unchecked power to override the will of the voters. This amendment will grant the legislature free rein to overturn voter-approved initiative or referendum to serve special interests.
The ACLU urges voters to vote NO on Prop 128.
Limiting Citizen Initiatives to a “Single Subject” - Proposition 129
Prop 129, referred to the ballot by the Arizona legislature, would unnecessarily burden the citizen initiative process by driving up costs, shifting power from people to the courts, and weakening every Arizonans’ right to participate in their democracy. Prop 129 would require each initiative to have only a “single-subject.” The initiative's definition of “single-subject” is vague and will invite court challenges from special interest groups seeking to undermine the power of the people to enact laws such as minimum wage and medical marijuana.
Since Arizona’s founding, the public has had the power to direct our government through the initiative process. Prop 129 is another attempt to undermine that power and give politicians the ability to rewrite laws that have already been approved by the people.
The ACLU urges voters to vote NO on Prop 129.
Requiring a “Super Majority” for Citizens Initiatives - Proposition 132
Prop 132, referred to the ballot by the Arizona legislature, seeks to undermine basic democratic principles by requiring a super majority vote of 60% or more to enact voter ballot initiatives.
For perspective: legislature referred measures, like Prop 132, would still only need 50.1% of the vote to be enacted. Prop 132 is yet another attempt by the Arizona legislature to shift the power away from the people and into the hands of a narrow set of special interests. Ballot measures give citizens the ability to make laws when politicians fail the people. If Prop 132 were enacted, initiatives most Arizonans support – such as an the initiative to legalize medical marijuana – may have never been enacted.
The ACLU urges voters to vote NO on Prop 132.
Arizona elections are fair and safe and mail-in voting is a key feature in making this possible. Over 88% of Arizona voters across the political spectrum and at every economic level in our community voted early and mostly by mail in the 2020 presidential election. Prop 309 seeks to alter and undermine our functioning mail-in voting systems by adding onerous requirements that will lead to otherwise eligible votes not being counted.
Under Prop 309, mail-in voters would be required to submit an additional affidavit providing an ID number and date of birth. Failure to provide the information would lead to otherwise eligible votes not being counted. In addition, Prop 309 would prevent voters without specific, government approved ID from voting, regardless of whether they can demonstrate their identity by other means such as non-government photo-ID, an expired ID, or two bills and other proof of residency. Prop 309 makes our voting systems more complicated and less accessible, all to satisfy conspiracies of voter fraud that have been continuously shown to be unfounded.
The ACLU urges voters to vote NO on Prop 309.
An informed vote this year can help us build towards an equitable and just Arizona where everyone’s civil rights and civil liberties are respected. Be sure to save this resource and use it as a guide once ballots drop. You can also help us inform other Arizonans by sharing with friends and family. Together, we can fight to ensure that our voice and our vote are respected.
To learn more about our other electoral work, like the Maricopa County Attorney Race, visit: www.smartjustice.org/mcao2022.