In a Victory for Arizona Voters, AZ Superior Court Upholds Proposition 211

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, Arizona’s Superior Court dismissed (link here) a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 211 (Prop 211) for the second time. This ballot measure, supported by 72 percent of Arizona voters in 2022, implements a robust traceback disclosure system to track the original sources of money spent in elections. It is the product of years of hard work by Voters’ Right to Know, which is represented by Campaign Legal Center Action (CLCA) in this case.  

Today’s court ruling is a major win for voters in Arizona. Campaign spending transparency laws are protected by the First Amendment right of Americans to be well-informed voters. This precedent has once again been upheld by the courts,” said Trevor Potter, President of Campaign Legal Center. “Voters have a right to know who is spending money to influence their decisions at the ballot box. In 2022, Arizonans overwhelmingly supported Proposition 211, calling for robust traceback measures that will make it possible for them to identify the original sources of campaign spending in future. Let’s hope that other challenges to this law are similarly dismissed.”  

This is the second time that the Arizona Superior Court affirmed the constitutionality of Prop 211. The plaintiffs – Center for Arizona Policy, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, and two anonymous donors– filed the original lawsuit against the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission (CCEC) and the Arizona secretary of state on the grounds that traceback disclosure violated their free speech rights. After their initial lawsuit was rejected, they then returned to the court a month later with an amended suit that claimed the law, as applied to them specifically, was unconstitutional and therefore merited an exemption.  

In this decision, Arizona’s Superior Court has followed well-established Supreme Court precedent holding that disclosure protects the First Amendment right of voters to know who is trying to influence their vote and, ultimately, policymaking decisions by elected officials. Those seeking exemption, like the plaintiffs, must show that that they are likely to face serious harm from being identified as the original source of campaign contributions.  

Legal challenges like the one to Proposition 211 and other campaign finance disclosure laws remain, but today’s ruling represents a win for Arizonans, transparency, and for everyone who cares about reducing political corruption and enhancing informed participation in our democracy.