Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has come under fire for her handling of the electronic system used to collect online signatures for political candidates, E-Qual. The system was not updated to accommodate new redistricting, which has made it very difficult for campaigns to collect enough signatures in time to make the ballot this fall. On March 17, Hobbs took the entire system offline, making it impossible to collect any signatures at all online, so Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre on March 29 to “investigate and take any appropriate enforcement actions (civil and criminal).”
McIntyre told the Arizona Sun Times, “I can confirm that we have received the request and begun the investigative process.”
Candidates running for office in Arizona are reporting difficulty collecting signatures online due to a “total breakdown” of Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ website, as Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Gaynor described it. Hobbs, a Democrat, is also running for governor. New redistricting maps have been established, and although candidates are allowed to collect signatures from either their old district or their new district, if they’ve filed to run in the new district, the E-Qual system will only accept signatures from the old district with that number — which might be a completely different area.
Labeling the technical difficulties a “total breakdown,” Gaynor said in a statement, “The breakdown of the E-QUAL system is a slap in the face to Arizona candidates and voters, and all the hard work that has been done during the AIRC process. Secretary Hobbs has utterly failed to protect our election process, and her mismanagement of the E-QUAL system is the latest indication that Arizona’s elections are not in safe hands.”