The group CameraFraud.com announced yesterday that 127,000 Arizona voters had made it clear that they want voters decide the future of automated enforcement in the state. The figure fell short by about ten percent of the number legally required to force a measure onto the ballot against the will of lawmakers. Initiative proponents see this as a merely temporary setback. Arizonans Against Photo Radar Chairman Shawn Dow believes that his group is stronger than ever and will be able to flex its political muscle to force change in the state.
“We received more signatures than all of the candidates for governor combined, yet they can get on the ballot and we can’t,” Arizonans Against Photo Radar Chairman Shawn Dow told TheNewspaper.
A team of volunteers delivered 8000 fully signed sheets of signatures, each containing fifteen names, yielding 120,000 names. Another 1000 half-filled sheets were counted in a preliminary look by officials from the secretary of state’s office. The final figure is the equivalent of 12.8 percent of the votes cast in the 2008 presidential primaries and 5.5 percent of votes cast in the general election. The initiative got just 66,000 fewer signatures than Barack Obama received votes in the primary.
“With an all-volunteer crew, you’re limited to working on weekends — and there wasn’t a single weekend without an event,” Dow said. “It was hard work getting that far. We did not stop, not for one minute.”
The group brought the signed petitions to Governor Jan Brewer’s office to convince her to push the legislature to place the initiative on the ballot and let voters have the final say in the matter. If Brewer fails to act, Dow suggests one of Brewer’s primary opponents may be interested in picking up the support of photo radar opponents. The second prong of the group’s revised strategy involves taking the referendum effort to individual cities where collecting hundreds of signatures — as opposed to hundreds of thousands of signatures — is a much easier task.
Maryland residents took the same strategy after just barely falling short of collecting enough signatures for a statewide anti-camera referendum on a tight deadline. Under a local battle strategy, 62 percent of voters in the town of Sykesville insisted in May on sending the traffic camera companies packing. No photo enforcement program has ever survived a public vote.