Recall of Immigrant-Bashing Senate President|Russell Pearce Challenged in Arizona

PHOENIX (CN) – A backer of recalled Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce has challenged the validity of the petitions. Pearce, author of Arizona’s Draconian and unconstitutional immigration law, and a second “Immigration Omnibus” law that did not make it through the state Senate, faces a recall election on Nov. 18.

     A voter in Pearce’s District 19, centered on Mesa, claims that if all the invalid signatures are removed from the recall petitions, there will not be enough signatures to qualify.
     The Arizona Secretary of State found 10,365 valid signatures on the recall petitions – far more than the 7,756 required to recall Pearce.
     Gov. Jan Brewer, like Pearce a Republican, announced the date of the recall election on July 12.
     Plaintiff Franklin Bruce Ross claims that the last sentence of the petition statement “did not state any grounds for recall,” but merely informed signers that “by signing the petition, they would simply by publicly withdrawing their support from Senator Pearce.”
     Ross claims that “Because the RC-04 2011 [recall petition] statement of the grounds of the demand for recall includes this unauthorized sentence that could only have misled prospective signers as to the effect of signing the petition, the statement created a sufficient degree of fraud, confusion and unfairness that each petition sheet on which it rests must be invalidated.”
     Ross acknowledges, however, that the Arizona Constitution contains “no restrictions on what may constitute grounds for recall”.
     Pearce drafted SB 1070, Arizona’s controversial immigration law, and SB 1611, an “Immigration Omnibus” that would have required parents to prove their child’s citizenship to enroll in public or private school and prohibited the enrollment of undocumented immigrants in public universities, among other things.
     Pearce was first elected to the Legislature in 2000. Before that he was a deputy sheriff for 23 years, including chief deputy sheriff of Maricopa County under Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
     In his complaint in Maricopa County Court, Ross also claims that though Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell disqualified signatures “for which it was determined that someone other than the elector printed the elector’s first and last name,” she did not disqualify signatures of electors who did not write their address or the date on which they signed the petition.
     And he claims that Purcell did not disqualify “signatures of those signers registered at an address outside of Legislative District 18 if the address provided on the petition sheet was within Legislative District 18.”
     Ross wants the recall election called off. He is represented by Lisa Hauser with Gammage & Burnham.

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