Seven standard office computers are lined up along a wall in a quiet corner of the Arizona Secretary of State’s office.
Behind each employee stand at least two observers. Watching. Hovering. Taking notes.
Save Our Schools Arizona celebrated Tuesday after collecting over 110,000 signatures that could give Arizona voters the power to decide if SB1431 will become law, allowing all of Arizona’s 1.1 million public school students to apply for the Empowerment Scholarship Account program, which was previously only available to select students.
But the Arizona Secretary of State’s office is another hoop for the referendum to jump through. If the office verifies at least 75,321 signatures, the referendum will be successful.
Now groups like the American Federation for Children, Americans for Prosperity, and other school-choice advocates are observing the signature-verification process along with the SOS Arizona volunteers. There are two clearly delineated sides: One group is pro-referendum and the other is pro-voucher law.
SOS Arizona spokeswoman Dawn Penich-Thacker worries that the pro-voucher observers could have an impact on the legitimacy of the referendum.
“Basically, the two most powerful, right-wing, billionaire, dark-money groups in the U.S. are literally sitting in the Arizona State Capitol as we speak,” Penich-Thacker said.
SOS Arizona volunteers feel like they have to play defense to ensure their referendum isn’t tampered with. That’s…
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