Arizona Republicans are bypassing the state's Democratic governor to get hot-button measures on the ballot just in time for November

  • Arizona Republicans are turning to ballot measures to get some of their top priorities on the books.

  • Controversial immigration and voter signature measures are set to appear before voters in November.

  • The ballot measures could turbocharge turnout in a state already knee-deep in ideological battles.

The GOP-controlled Arizona legislature voted to approve a ballot measure last week that would empower state law enforcement officials to arrest and incarcerate individuals they suspect have entered the US illegally, while also permitting state judges to deport them.

Given the high-stakes nature of immigration policy in the United States, the measure is almost certain to encounter legal challenges should voters approve it in November.

It's one of several conservative-led measures set to appear on the November ballot as Democratic Gov. Katie Hobbs — who opposed the move — lacks the veto power to block it.

That lack of veto power is essentially a loophole used to circumvent the governor, allowing GOP lawmakers to use their slim legislative majorities to get conservative proposals on the ballot.

These ballot measures are likely to have a major impact on the upcoming presidential election in a state where both major-party candidates are itching for a win.

Donald Trump defeated former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Arizona in 2016, but President Joe Biden won it in 2020, buoyed by support from independents, Latino voters, and young voters.

The proliferation of ballot measures in Arizona — which could also include a measure establishing the "fundamental right" to an abortion up until the point of fetal viability — has the potential to turbocharge turnout in the state in November.

And it raises the stakes not only for the presidential candidates, but also for down-ballot lawmakers as Arizona is once again set to be a laboratory for the nation's ongoing ideological battles.

GOP lawmakers also placed on the ballot an amendment that would make it more difficult for citizen-led signature drives to succeed in getting measures on the ballot.

If approved by voters, the measure would put geographic restrictions on ballot petitions, which Republicans say is necessary to give rural voters a larger voice in a state dominated by populous Maricopa and Pima counties.

Arizona law says petitioners must collect signatures equal to 10% of the votes cast in the most recent gubernatorial election in order to get a state statute on the ballot. For constitutional amendments, petitioners must collect signatures equal to 15% of the votes cast. There are no geographic guidelines on where the signatures must be collected.

But if passed by voters, the Republican-crafted ballot measure would create a signature distribution requirement to get a measure on the ballot, forcing petitioners to meet the aforementioned thresholds in each of Arizona's 30 legislative districts.

Read the original article on Business Insider