A petition drive to ban same-sex marriages may not qualify for the ballot. And a campaign organizer is blaming the owner of a company that circulates petitions for a fee.
Cathi Herrod, interim director for the Center for Arizona Policy, acknowledged Wednesday in an alert sent to supporters that the effort is falling short.
“Unless we start collecting more signatures quickly, the Protect Marriage Amendment could fail to make the ballot,’’ Herrod wrote.
She said that could put Arizona in the position of being the first state in the nation where such a petition drive has failed.
“It’s a significant undertaking to get 250,000 to 300,000 signatures,’’ Herrod said.
That goal is based on the requirement to get 183,917 valid signatures — from people who are legally registered to vote — by July 6.
Herrod said she remains confident the measure will qualify for the ballot, saying she believes some circulators may have completed petitions at home which need to be sent to the campaign office.
But campaign consultant Nathan Sproul said there is a purposeful effort to block the signature-gathering effort.
He said Andrew Chavez, owner of Petition Partners, has not only refused to circulate petitions but also has forbidden his employees from carrying the Protect Marriage Amendment petitions.
Chavez acknowledges his attempt to hinder the petition drive.
But he said there is nothing sinister — or even philosophical — behind his decision.
Chavez said his firm already is circulating petitions for other issues and believes that when people are approached to sign the gaymarriage petition, they might choose to walk away — and refuse to even hear arguments on the other issues.