PHOENIX — With the candidate filing deadline for 2022 just days away, candidates are scrambling to get last minute signatures to be on Arizona’s ballot.
Republican Attorney General, and candidate for US Senate, Mark Brnovich asked the Cochise County attorney to investigate Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ office.
Recent issues with E-Qual, the state's online system and the easiest way for candidates to get signatures, caused it to be taken down on March 17. New districts were added and a hardware failure caused the system to go down for a few hours just this week.
Brnovich said in a letter that it is a violation of state law for the system to go down.
Jack Wilencheck is a republican elections attorney, and he questions why E-Qual is having so many issues this close to the deadline.
“I don’t know why at the last moment you’ve be having so many issues tied into redistricting,” Wilencheck said. “That’s something that should have been set up on the computer side a good time ago.”
Wilencheck did say it was normal for attorney generals to refer cases out to county attorneys when they have a conflict of interest. Brnovich does have conflict given that his office is charged with representing state agencies, including the Secretary of State.
Secretary Hobbs, who is running for Arizona Governor as a democrat sent ABC 15 a statement that read:
“We’ve recently received a copy of the letter and are reviewing it. The Attorney General’s continued attacks on election officials across the state for doing our jobs is ridiculous.”
E-Qual has been used in Arizona since at least the 2012 election. Candidates can obtain signatures to qualify for the ballot as well as obtain $5 qualifying contributions if they are running as publicly funded candidates through Arizona’s Clean Election Commission.
In 2020, Hobbs office began updating the application to include several local jurisdictions including candidates running for Phoenix City Council.
It began to garner more attention recently when the resignation of Maricopa County Attorney Alister Adel caused a flurry of candidates rushing to attempt to collect over four thousand signatures in just ten days.