Prop 200 Faces Test Before Election Day

By J.D. Wallace, KOLD News 13 Reporter

posted 10/27/04

 

Debate on prop 200 drew crowds of people to Pima Community College Wednesday night.

 

"I was interested in hearing how it's going to affect immigration and people trying to get benefits and things like that," said student Julia Hillman.

 

Prop 200 supporters say it simply requires proof of citizenship at the polls and when applying for state and local welfare benefits.  But opponents say it's too broad, and could require identification for almost any state or local service.  The fight has reached a new level, in Maricopa County Superior Court, with opponents saying that, during the initiative process, most petitions said 200 requires proof for “public welfare benefits.”  Ballot language only says “public benefits.”

 

"You have to attach a correct version of the initiative with each petition.  The constitution is clear,” said Wes Gullett, with No on 200.

 

"You know I've got about 20 or 30 copies of the original initiative that I've still got in my possession, and I've got the original language that does not have this defect in it, if you want to call it that," said state representative Randy Graf, with Yes on Proposition 200.

 

Prop 200 supporters say opponents should have caught the error when the secretary of state approved the initiative back in August.  Opponents say about 90 percent of the petitions had the error; therefore, initiative backers must have known about it.  Both sides hope the court will make things right.

 

"These are the same people that want to stop fraud and they want to make sure that our election system is pure.  Basically, they're using an illegal document to get it on the ballot," Gullett said.

 

"People have already started voting with the early balloting, and a lot of votes I'm sure already coming in, once again, six days before the election, it's hard to suggest to voters we're going to pull that away from you and pull that rug out from under you," Graf said.

 

Judge Margaret Downie should have a decision on Thursday.  Whatever the decision, the case is expected to then go to the State Supreme Court.