From Richard Winger at Ballot Access News:
On December 18, the Arizona Secretary of State notified the Green Party that its petition for qualified status has enough valid signatures. The Green Party had submitted 30,667 signatures, and 84.6% of them (25,951) are valid. Most of the signatures on this petition had been collected to get the party on the ballot in time for the 2014 election, when the requirement was 23,041. The deadline for the 2014 election was February 28, 2014. The party missed that deadline but submitted its signatures anyway, but the state rejected them. The party then sued to overturn the February 28 deadline. The U.S. District Court upheld the deadline, and the party is appealing to the Ninth Circuit.
The appeal won’t be moot, because in 1969 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that ballot access constitutional challenges don’t become moot just because the election is over; the issue needs to be resolved for future elections.
The U.S. District Court decision said that the signatures could be used to try to get on the 2016 ballot. It’s not clear if the Secretary of State would have permitted those same signatures to be used for 2016 if the Court had not said that, but in any event the party then supplemented the petition, and turned in the petition again. Neither the party, nor anyone else, could have known that the November 2014 turnout would be so low, the requirement declined from 23,041 signatures to 20,086 signatures.
Arizona law, amended in 2011, says a petition is good for the next two elections, so now the Greens will be on not only for 2016, but 2018, and the state will again keep a tally of the number of voters who register Green. However, the state won’t print the name of the Green Party on the voter registration card; state law says only the two largest parties should have their own checkbox on the voter registration form. The constitutionality of that policy will be heard in the Ninth Circuit on January 29 in Tucson. Thanks to Angel Torres for the news about the petition success.