Court Rejects Challenge to Arizona’s New Law Shining Light on Sources of Spending in Elections
Phoenix, AZ – In a major win for the rights of voters in Arizona, the Superior Court of Arizona, Maricopa County, has upheld Proposition 211. Also known as the Voters’ Right to Know Act, the law implements robust traceback disclosure, giving Arizonans information about the original sources of money spent to influence their votes.
Arizona voters overwhelmingly approved Prop 211 in November 2022, with 72% of voters in support. The ballot measure was the result of years of hard work, written and supported by Voters’ Right to Know, which is represented by Campaign Legal Center Action (CLCA) in this case.
One month after the law’s passage, the Center for Arizona Policy, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, and two anonymous plaintiffs filed suit against the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) and the Arizona secretary of state, alleging that the law is unconstitutional and seeking to prevent its implementation. CLCA, working on behalf of Voters’ Right to Know, intervened in the case to defend its constitutionality under the Arizona Constitution.
“To reduce political corruption and give citizens the information they need to participate in our democracy, we need real transparency about who is spending big money on elections,” said Terry Goddard, former Attorney General of Arizona and Chairman of Voters' Right to Know. “Prior to the passage of this law, Arizona’s campaign finance system led to our state being described as ‘one of the most pro-dark-money statutes imaginable’ – thanks to our voters, we now have one of the most robust disclosure systems in the country. This ruling confirms the wisdom and the will of the people of Arizona, who voted so strongly in favor of transparency.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court has consistently upheld disclosure and disclaimer laws like Prop 211 as important transparency measures that protect citizens’ right to be informed voters,” said David Kolker, Senior Counsel for Campaign Finance at CLCA. “This law provides voters with essential information about the people and forces behind campaign spending – allowing them to make an informed choice at the ballot box – without interfering with a spender’s right to speak.”
With this ruling, the Superior Court has followed well-established precedent that disclosure, rather than violating free speech, serves to protect Americans’ First Amendment right to be well-informed voters. While challenges to Prop 211 and other campaign finance disclosure laws remain, today is a win for Arizonans, for transparency, and for everyone who cares about reducing political corruption and enhancing informed participation in our democracy.