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Adams v. Bolin

Supreme Court of Arizona

June 1, 1954

BOLIN, Secretary of State.

[77 Ariz. 317] Leslie C. Hardy, Whitney, Ironside & Whitney and Frank E. Flynn, Phoenix, for plaintiff.

Ross F. Jones, Atty. Gen., and Alfred B. Carr and Eldon R. Clawson, Asst. Attys. Gen., for defendant.

UDALL, Justice.

This is an original petition by L. S. 'Dick' Adams, designated as plaintiff but herein referred to as petitioner, seeking a writ of mandamus to require Wesley Bolin, Secretary of State, designated as defendant but herein referred to as respondent, to accept certain nomination papers tendered by petitioner, who is a candidate at the primary election to be held on September 7, 1954, for the Democratic nomination by said party for the office of representative in Congress, First Congressional District of Arizona. The respondent's letter, dated May 17, 1954, refusing to file said nomination papers, gives as the reason that they do not comply with Section 55-1004(a), A.C.C.1939, as

Page 473

amended by Chapter 123, Laws 1952, section 21 thereof.

The Attorney General, representing respondent, appeared before us on the date the petition was filed and waived notice of the filing and preliminary notice of application for writ, as required by Subdivision 4, Rule 2, as amended, Rules of Supreme Court. It being represented to us that time was of the essence and the matters involved were of great public interest, particularly to every party member who aspired to be a candidate for public office in Arizona this election year, an alternative writ was issued.

[77 Ariz. 318] The respondent being a state officer, this court has original jurisdiction to issue the writ under the provisions of Section 4 of Article VI of the Constitution of Arizona. See Graham v. Moore, 56 Ariz. 106, 105 P.2d 962. Return has now been made and answer filed. Counsel representing each of the parties having filed briefs and waived oral argument, the matter was ordered submitted for decision.

The primary question involved is as to the legal sufficiency of petitioner's nomination papers. It is the contention of the respondent that the petitions attempted to be filed with him by petitioner were defective in that they were not in the exact form prescribed by statute, in that no precinct was named therein and electors of different precincts had signed on the same nomination sheet and the signers had not designated their precinct by its particular name. It is the position of the petitioner that substantially they meet the requirements, and that a substantial compliance with the form prescribed is all that is required, and he asserts that the petitions presented by him fully meet this standard.

The Twentieth Legislature in its Second Regular Session, enacted House Bill No. 206, which now appears as Chapter 123, 1952 Session Laws Arizona. Section 21 of this Act amended Section 55-1004, A.C.A.1939, and in subdivision (a) thereof is contained the revised form of Nomination Papers, viz.:

"I, the undersigned, a qualified elector of the _____ precinct of the county of _____, state of Arizona, and a member of _____ party, hereby nominate _____, who resides at _____, in the county of _____, for the party nomination for the office of _____, to be voted for at the primary election to be held _____, as representing the principles of said party, and I declare that I have not signed, and will not sign, any nomination paper for more persons than the number of candidates necessary to fill said office at the next ensuing election.' Names of signers; name of city or post office; street number; date of signing.'

(Note: We have added the bracketed numerals appearing in the blank spaces for subsequent reference.)

It is to be noted there are no express restrictive instructions as to what is to be put or may not be put, in the blank spaces.

The nomination papers circulated by petitioner for signatures of electors and then presented to respondent are in the exact form of the statute, supra, save that in bank space (1), supra, there was inserted the words 'hereinafter designated' instead of the name or number of a particular precinct. Since each signer of the petition must state his address, this effectively indicates his precinct. It is conceded that blank spaces numbered 2 to 8 inclusive, supra,[77 Ariz. 319] were properly filled in. It is also not disputed that petitioner obtained and tendered petitions containing in the aggregate more than the minimum number of signatures of qualified electors required by law, and that petitioner possess the necessary qualifications to be a candidate for the office sought. The petitioner alleged that he would, within the time allowed by law, sign and file with respondent, the candidate's nomination petition required by Section 55-1003, A.C.A.1939, as amended by Chapter 123, Laws 1952. The answer denies this because of insufficient information upon which to form a belief as to its truth or falsity.

Insofar as the sufficiency of the petitions is concerned, the issue narrows down to respondent's ...

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