Tag Archives: ken bennett

Increase in voter registration

According to our recent report, the total number of registered voters has risen by 2,302 to 3,227,819.  While the state’s major political parties experienced a decrease, the number of voters not affiliated with any party, commonly known as independent voters, increased from 1,075,334 to 1,085,237.

Of the state’s 3.2 million voters, 1,139,154 are Republicans (-2,546) and 972,626 are Democrats (-6,545). Libertarians make up less than one percent of the state’s total registration with 25,281, while 5,241 voters are currently registered as members of the Green Party.  Additionally, the Americans Elect Party has enrolled 280 voters since joining the state’s other recognized political parties in 2011.

I was glad to see that statewide enrollment increased slightly.  With important municipal elections like the city council races in Phoenix, it’s important that people participate.  The individuals we elect to represent us make the decisions that effect the lives of our family, friends and neighbors.  Your vote is your voice.  Make it heard!

The latest voter registration figures compiled by county, congressional district and legislative district are available on our website, http://www.azsos.gov/VoterRegCount.


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SCOTUS ruling

In 2004, Arizona voters enacted Proposition 200, a ballot measure that required voters to show ID at the polls and proof of citizenship when they register to vote.  After nearly 10 years of legal proceedings, we were disappointed to learn that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the state’s ability to require additional documentation of citizenship from a voter who doesn’t provide it on the federal voter registration form.

 While disheartened with the court’s decision, we were encouraged by its recognition that Arizona is not prohibited from denying registration based on information in the state’s possession which indicates the applicant is not eligible — precisely the procedure currently employed by the state’s county recorders.

In addition, we plan to renew our request of the Election Assistance Commission to include information necessary to determine eligibility on the federal form as suggested by Justice Scalia.  If the Commission once again refuses, we plan to pursue further litigation under the Administrative Procedure Act to include this information to determine eligibility. 

Election integrity starts with voter registration.  We strongly believe citizenship is the foundation from which eligibility is derived and we will continue to look for ways to ensure only eligible citizens are casting ballots in our elections.

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Prescott Public Library – Rock Garden



Yesterday I had the opportunity to visit the Prescott Public Library to celebrate the “The Rock Garden,” an early literacy play space that opened last November.

Designed for children from birth to five years, the play space offers an environment that encourages early childhood literacy with books, toys, a puppet stage and comfy furniture. The area also hosts a collection of parenting materials and examples of literacy activities that can easily be replicated at home.

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2013 Arizona Reading Program

The Arizona State Library, a division of the Secretary of State, with the help of government and private partnerships has expanded its annual summer reading program offered by libraries across the state.

The Arizona State Library has joined in partnership with the Arizona Department of Education, First Things First, the Governor’s Office of Education Innovation and Read On Arizona in a first-ever statewide collaboration of services and resources focused on childhood literacy; reaching families and children of all ages to engage them in summer reading.

This program is designed to get children to realize the rewards of reading by encouraging them to exercise their imaginations and make reading a daily event this summer.  Evidence shows that children who stop reading over summer vacation often fall behind when they return to school in August. I encourage all school children to take part in this program whether they want to learn about sports stars, or stars in outer space. Be it poolside, camping or on the beach, bring a book with you and read!

The Arizona Reading Program has three different levels: adults, teens and preschoolers/elementary school. The theme for this year’s program is “underground.”  The goal is to have 100,000 readers participate in the summer reading program.  To participate, sign up at your local library. To find a library near you, visit the Arizona State Library’s website at: www.azlibrary.gov/libdir.Image

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A permanent sales tax increase is a permanent sales tax increase.

According to the Arizona Supreme Court, describing a permanent sales tax increase as a permanent sales tax increase is appropriate. 

Arizona’s Supreme Court has confirmed the Secretary of State’s office correctly summarized Proposition 204, a 2012 ballot measure which would have permanently increased state sales taxes to fund education and infrastructure projects.  The initiative was defeated by voters last fall 64% to 36%.

State law directs the Secretary of State to provide, and the Attorney General to approve, a description of the measure to appear on the ballot.  In the latest lawsuit, the Quality Education and Jobs Committee sued the Secretary of State’s office insisting the description “falsely characterizing the Act as a tax increase.”

The most recent ruling comes on the heels of a decision issued by the Court last month which also affirmed Secretary Bennett acted properly when the office initially rejected the measure because the petitions signed by voters did not match the official language filed in the office. 

As I’ve said before, we follow the laws, policies and procedures which guide the ballot measure process from beginning to end.  Our office is required to provide the public an accurate description of what ballot initiatives actually do.  Unfortunately the Committee disagreed with our characterization of the initiative which said ‘a yes vote shall have the effect of permanently increasing the state sales tax by one cent per dollar.’  Simply arguing we inaccurately described the initiative as a permanent tax increase doesn’t make it so, and we are pleased that the Court was not persuaded otherwise.


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Flag Day

As you may know today is Flag Day in the United States.

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated every June 14 and it commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that on that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

On that day in June, Congress declared the flag to be 13 alternating red and white stripes with a union of 13 white stars in a blue field. In 1794, after Kentucky and Vermont joined the Union, Congress added two stars and two stripes. In 1818, when five more states had joined, Congress again changed the design to 13 stripes, representing the original 13 states, and 20 stars, with a provision that an additional star be added on the admission of each new state.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; and in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. Since 1949, Americans have commemorated the adoption of the Stars and Stripes by celebrating June 14 as Flag Day. The flag is the symbol of our national unity, our national endeavor, our national aspiration.

The flag tells of the struggle for independence, of union preserved, of the sacrifices of brave men and women to whom the ideals and honor of this nation have been dearer than life.

What do the colors of the flag represent?

Tradition has given the following meanings to the colors:

WHITE: purity and innocence
RED: hardiness and valour
BLUE: vigilance, perseverance and justice

Today, let us take a moment to reflect upon our flag and recognize the sacrifices of those who have fought to protect it. Our flag should stand as a reminder of America’s storied history and what the Stars and Stripes meant to our nation’s heroes and founders.


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