Phoenix, AZ — Following Tuesday’s primary election, we now know voters in Maricopa County will see Julie Gunnigle and Rachel Mitchell on their ballots this November as they vie for the role of Maricopa County Attorney. As the county’s top prosecutor, the candidate elected in November will oversee the third-largest public prosecutorial agency in the country and will have a critical voice in key issues affecting our state, like the criminalization of abortion and miscarriage.
County attorneys hold tremendous power in the criminal legal system and decide what charges people face or whether they’ll face charges at all. After the fall of Roe v. Wade earlier this summer, the county attorney can use their prosecutorial discretion to protect abortion providers and decline to criminally prosecute those seeking or providing this crucial medical care. In a candidate questionnaire submitted to all candidates, Julie Gunnigle pledged to not prosecute abortion providers. Rachel Mitchell failed to respond.
With an investment pledge of $300,000, the ACLU of Arizona plans to educate voters about key criminal justice reform issues at stake in this race, like abortion access, police accountability, reducing Arizona’s extreme incarceration rate, and eliminating the troubling racial disparities in the system. In 2020, the organization reached over 300,00 voters in similar voter education efforts.
“This race is too critical to sit on the sidelines. Maricopa County is the largest county in Arizona and as such, we believe it is important for voters to know how powerful their vote can be,” said Victoria López, director of program and strategy for the ACLU of Arizona. “For decades, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has been marred by controversy and scandal – prosecutorial misconduct, blatant false charges against people, and a trajectory of seeking convictions over justice. With November just around the corner, voters can elect a county attorney that can transform that office. We look forward to hearing from both candidates and learn more about their stances on the issues that affect the people of Maricopa County the most.”
The ACLU is a nonpartisan organization and does not endorse or oppose candidates. Find more information here: www.smartjusticeaz.org/mcao2022.