A group attempting to recall Arizona Senate President Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, expects to reach the required number of petition signatures before its May 31 deadline.
Citizens for a Better Arizona began its recall effort in late January and must collect 7,756 signatures from District 18 voters.
Pearce is most known for sponsoring Arizona’s controversial immigration bill, Senate Bill 1070.
According to the secretary of state’s website, the required signature total represents 25 percent of the total votes cast at the last preceding general election for the Senate seat.
Pearce won 56 percent of the vote in November, overcoming his Democratic and Libertarian opponents total votes combined by more than 4,000. His opponents received a combined 13,471 votes.
Signatures for a recall must be gathered within 120 days following a filing of a recall application.
UA graduate Geoff Esposito began working with the organization as a campaign manager about a month ago. Esposito wouldn’t say how many signatures have been collected but confirmed it is much more than half its goal.
“The great turnout for volunteers has been the most rewarding; it keeps me going,” Esposito said.
Going door to door, making phone calls and hosting petition booths were some of the methods used by recall volunteers.
“We’re out here every day collecting signatures. We always have someone at the [Mesa] library,” Esposito said.
According to the secretary of state’s office, after a recall petition with the required signature amount is filed, Pearce will be given five days to resign. If he chooses not to resign a special election will take place within 15 days of his decision.
Eligibility to run in the special election follows the requirements set for the November election.
The candidate with the most votes will serve for the remainder of the term.
Journalism freshman and College Republican member Zachary Ziebarth said while he supports SB 1070, he feels indifferent about Pearce as the Senate president.
“I wouldn’t call myself a supporter [of Pearce] but I wouldn’t call myself a hater either,” he said.
Ziebarth praised the idea that voters can recall their senators but feels less than optimistic about the recall on Pearce.
“It’s great we live in a democracy where [the opposition] has the power to [recall], but I just don’t see it happening,” he said. Ziebarth explained that Pearce’s popularity might keep him from being recalled.
“He’s made such a big name for himself, not necessarily in a positive or negative light,” Ziebarth said.
Other volunteers for the recall have said gathering signatures has only been half the job — the rest is spreading awareness of local issues.
Graduate student Matthew Garcia joined the recall campaign in early February.
“A lot of the time [when going door to door] people know about the bills like SB 1070, but don’t know who is behind them,” he said. “It’s an effort to recall [Pearce] but it’s also an effort to raise awareness about our local politics.”
Garcia emphasized that ASU students are rarely seen participating in these types of campaigns and encourages students to become more involved in their communities.
“[Students] are affected by these local politicians; it will make an impact on their lives if they become more involved,” Garcia said.
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