The Arizona Supreme Court says it allowed a proposed sales tax increase to go on the Nov. 6 ballot despite a paperwork discrepancy because there was little chance it would confuse voters.
The court's opinion Wednesday explains why it let the measure go on the ballot though a paper copy submitted to state elections officials wasn't exactly the same as copies attached to petitions and as an electronic version submitted to the state.
The opinion said voters signing initiative petitions were presented with correct copies and that apparently only a few people saw the online version that omitted several paragraphs on how the money would be spent.
The justices also said Secretary of State Ken Bennett acted properly in going to court to get the discrepancy resolved.
Voters rejected the measure.
Bennett's office issued this statement Wednesday afternoon:
"Today's opinion released by the state Supreme Court regarding the lawsuit is extremely gratifying and reassuring," said Secretary Bennett. "From the moment our office discovered the error made by the Quality Education and Jobs committee, we knew litigation was imminent regardless of whether or not we accepted the filing. It was extremely satisfying to see the court concurred that the ballot measure committee precipitated the lawsuit by inadvertently submitting differing versions of the measure.
"Our office precisely follows the laws, policies and procedures which guide the ballot measure process from beginning to end. We were pleased to see that the Court agreed we had not acted arbitrarily or capriciously or wasted judicial resources as suggested by the trial court judge. We believe the Court's opinion validates our position that we proceeded properly in bringing this issue to court.
"To avoid uncertainty in the future, our office will consider making changes to clarify the process related to the submission and acceptance of official filings as suggested by the Court. If voter confusion were to be established in future cases similar to this, the result could very well be different."
Copyright 2012 CBS 5(Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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