PHOENIX — The Office of the Arizona Secretary of State is gearing up for some significant election updates, including an earlier Primary Election date.

Recent legislation moved up the Primary by several weeks to Aug. 4, 2020. Passage of the bill, SB1154, raised questions about the status of nomination petition signatures for candidates already collecting signatures to qualify for the 2020 ballot.

“People working to get on the ballot don’t have to start from scratch,” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said. “We can accept petitions with the former Primary date, but candidates should use the new petitions with the revised date moving forward.”

The same applies for candidates using online E-Qual petitions.

“E-Qual petitions with either Primary date will be accepted during the filing period,” Arizona Elections Director Sambo ‘Bo’ Dul said. “Candidates should close out, but not void any preexisting E-Qual petitions, and open new ones as soon as possible.”

Candidates who have already been collecting nominating petition signatures will also be affected by the passage of SB1451, which requires candidates to submit an official statement of interest before collecting signatures.

Dul said the Secretary of State’s Office can accommodate candidates who have already started collecting signatures.

“If a candidate collected signatures prior to Aug. 27, then we can accept signatures collected before the statement of interest was filed, but the candidate must file the statement of interest by Jan. 2, 2020,” Dul said.

Changes to the petition circulation and filing process for statewide initiatives and referendums will also go into effect on Aug. 27, 2019. Soon, all paid and out-of-state circulators of statewide initiative and referendum petitions will need to register with the Secretary of State’s Office and submit a notarized affidavit as part of the registration before gathering signatures.

The new requirements will not apply to circulators of statewide initiative and referendum petitions that already have serial numbers from the Secretary of State’s Office, nor will the new requirements affect initiatives that receive serial numbers before Aug. 27, 2019.

Unpaid Arizona residents do not need to register with the Secretary of State before volunteering to circulate statewide initiative or referendum petitions, and there are no changes to the regulations governing candidate petition gatherers.

“We are rapidly approaching the 2020 election season,” Hobbs said. “Work has already begun in earnest by a number of potential candidates and citizens interested in the initiative process. I want to make sure everyone knows the rules are changing, and they are prepared to take the necessary next steps.”

For more information about elections or the initiative process, please visit www.azsos.gov.

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