Arizona voters will be asked to decide on nine proposed state constitutional amendments and perhaps one citizens' initiative proposal on the November general election ballot.
Two citizens' proposals for constitutional amendments were filed with the Secretary of State's Office on Thursday, the deadline for such action.
One would dramatically change state elections, allowing an open, nonpartisan primary in which the top two vote getters, regardless of party affiliation, would compete in the general election.
The other would allow a vote of the people or of the Legislature on whether to accept or reject federal laws based on the U.S. Constitution.
Seven proposed constitutional amendments were placed on the ballot by the Legislature. Among them is a change in the way Superior Court and Court of Appeals judges are selected in Maricopa and Pima counties.
Others include one that would give the state control of natural resources on all public lands except Native American reservations and two proposals that would change property taxation.
A citizens' initiative for which petitions were filed last week to make permanent a one-cent sales tax to fund public schools was rejected by Secretary of State Ken Bennett on a legal technicality. Supporters have gone to court to get it on the ballot, with the first hearing in Phoenix July 18.
The Open Government Act, which would amend the constitution to change the state's elections system, was pushed by a committee headed and funded by Paul Johnson, a former mayor of Phoenix. Several prominent business leaders said they were supporting the effort to keep the state from going to political extremes.
“More citizens will become involved in the election process, and more candidates will be forced to communicate to a broader range of voters, which will ultimately result in a more representative field of candidates for elected office,” a committee press release quoted Michael Hammond, chairman of the Southern Arizona Leadership Council, as saying.
Leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties in Arizona have spoken out against the proposal.