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Coronavirus makes getting Arizona petitions signed a ‘heavy lift’

Ballot initiatives need more than 237,000 signatures
Posted at 10:28 PM, May 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-29 01:28:15-04

Arizona petition circulators had to change their operations to collect signature and meet the July deadline for 2020 ballot initiatives.

For citizen initiatives to appear on the November ballot, they must have more than 237,000 signatures by July 2. It is normally a huge task, but the coronavirus pandemic brings even bigger hurdles.

“We would usually be out in front of grocery stores, libraries, trailheads, retail centers like this, but you have less and less people who are out these days,” Petition Partners Owner Andrew Chavez said.

Petition Partners is working on three initiatives: Invest in Ed, Smart and Safe Arizona, and the Second Chances Act.

The company stopped work entirely for eight days while the owner consulted with health and legal experts. Employees now wear masks and go through weekly health checks, have increased disinfection procedures and have single-use pens, and they are also conscientious about people’s boundaries.

“Don’t get too close to people,” Petition Partners employee Simon Beach said. “I just got to watch out for people with masks on and lines.”

Petition Partners is hiring more petition gatherers for the final 5-week push before their deadline.

“Although it’s hard and it’s a heavy lift, we’re gonna do this,” Chavez said.

The petition gatherers hope citizens see the importance of ballot initiatives to Arizona’s democracy and understand they can participate while staying safe and healthy.