The Importance of Signatures — What Candidates Need to Know

A senior black man visits with a potential voter to earn her support.

Deciding to initiate a campaign, whether that’s for a local, statewide, or national race, is a significant decision. Hundreds of hours and usually thousands of dollars are invested into many races in the hopes of having a positive outcome.

In most races, candidates need valid signatures to get their name on the ballot. However, not all candidates are honest when obtaining signatures. This is why election officials implement strict rules when it comes to getting proper signatures.

Statement of Interest

In Arizona, anyone running for a public office must submit a Statement of Interest. This has to be filed online before any signatures are collected; otherwise, the candidate could have those signatures challenged according to A.R.S. § 16-351.

What Makes a Signature Valid

A signature is usually considered valid if the signer is a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, and is registered to vote in the area where the candidate is running for office.

A signature is considered not valid if the following applies:

  • The signer is not a U.S. citizen;
  • The signer is under the age of 18;
  • The signer is not in the area where the candidate is running for office;
  • The signer is signing someone else’s name or on behalf of someone else; or,
  • The signer has already signed a petition for a candidate from a different party.

While a signer may not sign a petition for multiple candidates in different political parties, a signer is allowed to sign petitions for numerous candidates from the same political party.

Proving Invalid Signatures

A signature could be considered invalid based upon the qualifications listed above or if a candidate tries to duplicate someone’s signature. No matter the circumstances, trying to prove invalid signatures alone can be difficult. However, the law team at Barton Mendez Soto PLLC has the experience necessary to tackle this task. Our election law attorneys believe candidates should only run if they follow proper procedures and utilize fair practices.

If you believe a candidate is falsifying signatures, contact Barton Mendez Soto PLLC so we can discuss the situation.

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