The author of a measure that seeks to prohibit people from running for office if they have outstanding elections-related fines will be asking the U.S. Department of Justice for an expedited review of the bill.
The measure, if enacted before the deadline to file candidate paperwork in this year’s elections, would impact former Rep. Doug Quelland, who has refused to pay a $31,000 Clean Elections fine.
Sen. Linda Gray, R-Glendale, will be making the expedited request through the state’s Attorney General’s Office.
The governor signed the measure, SB1137, today.
“Since it has to have Department of Justice clearance, the Attorney General’s Office has a letter prepared and ready to send,” Gray said.
The measure prohibits election officers from accepting the nomination papers of a candidate who faces an aggregate of $1,000 in fines over election law violations.
Quelland, a former Republican, is running for the Senate as an independent.
But it’s unclear whether the bill would be in effect in time for the deadline of filing nomination papers, which is at the end of this month.
The legislation carries an emergency clause, but Gray acknowledges it needs preclearance from the Justice Department.
Under the Voting Rights Act, any change to voting practices in a state that is covered by the federal law is frozen until it has been reviewed by the Justice Department or resolved through a lawsuit.
The change may be implemented if the DOJ affirms it or it doesn’t object to it at the expiration of 60 days.
The letter to the Justice Department, a copy of which was forwarded to the Arizona Capitol Times, argues that the changes in SB1137 were made without discriminatory intent and will have no discriminatory impact on minority groups.
But Gray admitted they’re looking at a short time frame.
The Glendale Republican, who is retiring this year, has thrown her support behind her seatmate, Rep. Kimberly Yee, who is seeking to replace her in the Senate next year.
Yee would be facing Quelland in an election for the Senate seat in the new District 20.
When pressed if she sponsored the legislation to help Yee, Gray only answered that the measure received overwhelming support.
“A lot of people (are) agreeing,” she said, adding, “A lawbreaker should not be a lawmaker, especially if they haven’t paid their fine.”