The failure of Gov. Doug Ducey to make appointments to the Arizona Clean Elections Commission is beginning to look like an intentional effort to affect the legitimacy of this organization.
The ACEC consists of five members, alternately appointed by the governor and the highest-ranking elected official of the opposite party. It is a non-partisan commission created by voters through a citizen initiative adopted in 1998. The ACEC serves to educate voters, and provides campaign funding and enforces campaign finance rules and laws.
Gov. Ducey and Republicans in general have consistently sought to discredit and disable the commission. They don’t like it that the ACEC has the authority to penalize politicians who violate campaign laws. They don’t like it that candidates who pledge to obey ACEC rules can be eligible to receive public funds to finance their campaign.
Consistent with that loathing, Gov. Ducey has delayed making an appointment to the commission for the past two years. At the moment, two positions are due for replacement, one of which involves action by the governor. Ducey has delayed taking the action for almost two years, leaving the ACEC without a quorum to take action on any of its required business.
The governor’s spokesman, Patrick Ptak, writes off the inaction by arguing that qualified candidates have not applied. He says four people have been considered for the one appointment required of the governor, but none met the requirements of the position.
We’re more than confident that if Gov. Ducey wanted a fully staffed and effective elections commission, he could quickly pick up the telephone and find a qualified candidate. He’s had no problem making appointments to other openings quickly — including Martha McSally as U.S. Senator after John McCain died and, most recently, Lea Marquez Peterson to the Arizona Corporation Commission when he appointed Andy Tobin to the top spot in the Department of Administration.
Preventing the ACEC from establishing a legitimate quorum to do its business is tantamount to ignoring the will of Arizona voters when they established the body by citizen initiative in 1998.
It’s past time Gov. Ducey stopped playing games with the ACEC and makes the appointment.