Independence Day and the Lawsuit

a blog by
Ruth McClung
July 3, 2010

Nominating petitions are one of the ways candidates are vetted. According to one Arizona Supreme Court Decision, nominating petitions are "a mechanism which ... weeds out the cranks, publicity seekers, the frivolous candidates who have no intention of going through with the campaign, and those who will run for office as a lark ..." Because of this, I made a great effort to obey the rule of law stated on each petition form. When the petition process was finished, we looked at the petitions of all our competing candidates. When we examined Joseph Sweeney's petitions closely, we believed 274 of his signatures were not legal, and another 9 signatures were duplicates from another candidate's petition. The result was that Mr. Sweeney was significantly short of 381 signatures for being placed on the ballot. We filed a Petition Challenge in Superior Court on June 10.

What happened then is very alarming! The Recorder's Offices of the 6 counties in CD 7 examined our challenge. Pima County Recorder's Office claimed 86 of our challenged signatures were "valid" leaving Mr. Sweeney with just over his required 381. We again examined these 86, and found that 9 of their "validated" signatures were from CD8, and were therefore not legal in CD7. In my and others opinion, it appears that Pima County bent the rules to get Mr. Sweeney above the signature requirement. Instead of being neutral, it appears they sided with a candidate. They sent three of their lawyers to court to fight against us. One of their lawyers we are told, is a good friend of Rep. Grijalva. The Superior Court Judge ruled against us, because we were not specific enough in our original challenge, not because of the rule of law. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mr. Sweeney too, but we are not sure of their reasoning, as yet.

What does this have to do with Independence Day? Our Founding Fathers and the people fought against political tyranny - a government ignoring its own laws and taxing its own citizens without due process. Throughout this petition challenge, we were not singling out an individual candidate to be malicious. We were upholding the rule of law that is clearly stated on each petition form. In my opinion during the challenge process, we saw the Pima County Recorder's office ignoring Arizona's law; and siding with Mr. Sweeney where they should have been neutral. The numbers and the law were on our side, but the lawyers from Pima County used loopholes to bend these laws and to affect the outcome of the Primary Nomination process. If the Pima County Recorder's Office is willing to bend things to get a certain person on the ballot in August, can we trust them to be fair during elections? Our free elections in the United States are at stake, and we need to be extra diligent to keep watch and fight to keep our independence. During the Primary and General Election, we need volunteers to follow the election process - to keep an eye open for irregularities and voter fraud. Let us know if you are willing to volunteer.

On a personal note: I felt it necessary to try and uphold the integrity of the elections process, and in that regard I believe we succeeded! Even though the Courts may have gotten it wrong, our campaign to change government one step at a time has succeeded by raising the bar for candidates' conduct, and by fighting against the status quo of politics as usual. This petition challenge was paid for by me and not by campaign funds, but we are reporting it to the Federal Election Commission for the sake of transparency. It would be nice if the Pima County Recorder's Office would be just as transparent in who paid for their lawyers during this challenge.

Ruth McClung




Ruth McClung for US Congress Arizona CD 7



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