Challengers to the state’s open primary system want another two hours to argue in court there are not enough valid signatures to put the measure on the ballot. Attorney Mike Liburdi told the Arizona Supreme Court on Tuesday he was “cut off” on Thursday by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Rea in the middle of his arguments. He said Rea refused to give him more time even after initiative supporters finished early. “Given the magnitude of the controversy – a proposed constitutional amendment that will fundamentally change the manner in which public officers are elected – it was unreasonable and an abuse of discretion not to provide (challengers) with more time to present their case,” Liburdi argued to the high court.
But attorney Kim Demarchi, who represents those pushing the measure, which Rea ruled Friday can go on the ballot, told the justices there is no reason for further hearings. And she said if the process was rushed, they share in the blame. “The plaintiffs were aware of the limited time that would be available to consider their claims when they filed their lawsuit one week before ballot printing began,” Demarchi wrote. She also said challengers knew exactly how many of the petitions they were challenging as valid based on claims that the circulators, as convicted felons, were ineligible, and they agreed to the half-day hearing.
“Even though they knew they had limited time, they did not use that time efficiently,” she wrote.
Full Article: Last-ditch try in open-primary fight.