Political News

The Latest: Voter referendum on school vouchers makes ballot

Posted September 5

— The Latest on efforts to block Arizona's new universal private school voucher law (all times local):

12:45 p.m.

Opponents of Arizona's new universal private school voucher program have succeeded in blocking the law until voters can weigh next year.

County recorders checking a random 5 percent sample of the 111,000 signatures that passed an initial state review have certified the total number of valid signatures now exceeds the minimum needed to send the measure to the ballot.

Maricopa County officials on Tuesday finished checking nearly 4,000 signatures and certified more than 3,400 were valid, putting the referendum over the threshold.

Voucher backers have already filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the voter referendum. Republican lawmakers and Gov. Doug Ducey enacted the voucher proposal this spring. Under Arizona law, it can be blocked though a signature gathering effort.

Backers say they give parents more choice and they've a lawsuit seeking to throw out the voter referendum effort.

Opponents argue vouchers siphon money from cash-starved public schools.

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1 a.m.

Opponents of Arizona's new universal private school voucher program should find out soon if their effort to block the bill until voters can weigh in has been successful.

Maricopa County election officials say they expect to finish checks of nearly 4,000 signatures on Tuesday. Ten of the 15 other counties have already completed their check of a random 5 percent sample of the 111,000 signatures that passed an initial state review.

The counties that have finished confirmed more than 85 percent were valid. Backers need just a 70 percent rate to block the expansion until the November 2018 election.

Voucher backers say they give parents more choice. They've filed two lawsuits seeking to throw out the voter referendum effort, although one has been dismissed.

Opponents argue vouchers siphon money from cash-starved public schools.

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