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Arizona Voters Should Decide If Secret Ballots Are Fundamental Right

November 4, 2014

PHOENIX — Arizona voters will have the opportunity in November to decide if secret ballots should be a constitutional right during public elections and the creation of labor unions, unless a union succeeds in its bid to have the proposed amendment removed as a ballot measure.

In June 2009, the Legislature referred Proposition 108, also known as Save our Secret Ballot, to Arizona voters. The United Food and Commercial Workers union, which represents grocery store workers, went to court 11 months later and demanded that Prop.108 be struck down as a violation of the requirement in the Arizona Constitution that voters consider only one subject in each ballot measure.

The Goldwater Institute has asked Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Oberbillig to leave the ballot measure in place for the November general election. Judge Oberbillig has scheduled oral arguments in the case for Tuesday, June 29, at 11 a.m.

Clint Bolick, the Goldwater Institute’s litigation director, said Prop. 108 does comply with the constitution’s “single-subject rule,” because the selection of public officials and the creation of local labor unions are both elections heavily regulated by government and traditionally decided with secret ballots.

Congress has proposed granting unions more power to organize workers through the collection of union card signatures, a practice called “card check.” Critics have argued workers would lose the protection of secret ballots and could be intimidated into joining a union. Prop. 108 would protect workers’ rights to a secret ballot in union-organizing elections.

The Goldwater Institute Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation is representing the SOS Ballot campaign committee and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry, both of which have intervened in the lawsuit as parties affected by the outcome.

Learn more about this lawsuit, McLaughlin v. Bennett, and other Goldwater cases to protect individual rights and keep government within its constitutional limits at The Goldwater Institute is a research and litigation organization whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.



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