Answers to Questions about Circulating the Save Our Schools Petition

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Answers provided by the Arizona Secretary of State.

1. If the signature is large, can they take up 2 lines and be valid?

First, with regard to questions 1 and 2, petition signatures are not invalidated if they are legible and otherwise identifiable by the Secretary of State and County Recorders, so long as they meet all other legally required criteria.  A signer’s failure to write or sign within the provided space may be cause for secondary review if the information provided is illegible or causes another line to become illegible, but this will not invalidate a signature line on its own. 

3. If someone registered to vote with their full name including both parents last names etc, but, they always sign with just their first and last name, is that a valid signature?

..a signature may be disqualified by the County Recorder if it does not match the signature on the individual’s affidavit of voter registration.

4. If they accidentally write the city on the physical address line, should they leave it alone and just write it again in the appropriate box.

Third, with regard to question 4, a signer must provide all information required by law.  However, if the city of residence is included in the wrong box but is also contained in the appropriate box, this is not grounds for signature disqualification or invalidation.

Finally, the reasons for petition signature invalidation are specifically prescribed by law.  A.R.S. § 19-121.01(A)(3) specifies the reasons that the Secretary of State’s office may determine the ineligibility of individual signature lines prior to verification by the County Recorders:

(a)    If the signature of the qualified elector is missing.

(b)   If the residence address or the description of residence location is missing.

(c)    If the date on which the petitioner signed is missing, if the date on which the petitioner signed the petition is before the date that the serial number was assigned to the political committee that is filing the petition or if the date on which the petitioner signed the petition is after the date on which the affidavit was completed by the circulator and notarized.

(d)   Signatures in excess of the fifteen signatures permitted per petition.

(e)   Signatures withdrawn pursuant to section 19-113.

(f)     Signatures for which the secretary of state determines that the petition circulator has printed the elector’s first and last names or other information in violation of section 19-112.

Likewise, A.R.S. § 19-121.02(A) specifies the reasons that a County Recorder may invalidate signature lines after receiving a random sample from the Secretary of State’s office:

  1. No residence address or description of residence location is provided.
  2. No date of signing is provided.
  3. The signature is illegible and the signer is otherwise unidentifiable.
  4. The address provided is illegible or nonexistent.
  5. The individual was not a qualified elector on the date of signing the petition.
  6. The individual was a registered voter but was not at least eighteen years of age on the date of signing the petition or affidavit.
  7. The signature was disqualified after comparison with the signature on the affidavit of registration.
  8. If a petitioner signed more than once, all but one otherwise valid signature shall be disqualified.
  9. If a petition signer’s signature is determined to be invalid after a comparison is made between the signature and handwriting on the petition and the petition signer’s voter registration file.
  10. If the person circulating the petition was a justice of the peace or a county recorder at the time the person circulated the petition.
  11. For the same reasons any signatures or entire petition sheets could have been removed by the secretary of state pursuant to section 19-121.01, subsection A, paragraph 1 or 3.

Thank you again for reaching out.  We hope this information is helpful to you.


Election Services Division
Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan
1700 West Washington Street, 7th Floor
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Election Services: (602) 542-8683

Posted in Learning the Issues, TAGG.