Phoenix – Today, January Contreras, candidate for Arizona Attorney General and former prosecutor, released her plans to protect election and voter integrity in Arizona. This plan includes being a voice for the citizen initiative ballot process and non-partisan institutions like the Clean Elections Commission, prosecuting campaign finance violations and cyber security crimes, and reducing the influence of dark money.
January Contreras, an experienced criminal prosecutor, spoke to the need for an Attorney General who is not beholden to special interests or corrupting influences, "We must protect our citizen initiative process and every eligible citizen's right to vote. As we face foreign and domestic threats to election security, including dark money donors, I am ready to take them on.”
January Contreras is a former Deputy County Attorney, Assistant Attorney General, and non-profit executive. She’s running for Attorney General to bring accountability and transparency back to our government, and to put the safety, financial security, and well-being of Arizonans first.
As Americans, we grow up cherishing the ideals of democracy – the duty to vote, the right to choose our own leaders, and to be ruled by the people for the people. Today, we face real threats to the freedom to exercise these rights.
It’s important for Arizona’s next Attorney General to have the courage to protect our democracy from those who would do it harm, whether they’re a foreign actor trying to interfere in our elections or wealthy special interests using dark money to rig our elections for their own benefit. We even have to be wary of current elected officials when they curtail important rights like Arizona’s constitutionally-protected right to citizen initiatives. As a former government fraud prosecutor, I know what it takes to stand up for transparency and accountability. As Attorney General, I will use my advisory, investigative, and prosecutorial powers to protect Arizona’s democracy and the freedoms that we are entitled to in ensuring fair elections and the voice of the voters. I will work to protect our right to govern Arizona by the people and for the people. This is vitally important to the future of our state.
A Plan to Defend Arizona’s Democracy
End the Chokehold of Special Interests and Dark Money on Arizona State Government
Be a champion for laws and enforcement that strengthen accountability and transparency in elections. Combat the corrupting influence of special interest donors and dark money by putting laws on the books that provide prosecutors and election officials with the authority and tools we need to intervene and prosecute. The Outlaw Dirty Money Initiative, recently thwarted by dark money opposition, is an example of the direction Arizona should be headed. I supported this initiative, and will advocate for similar legislation in my first year in office.
Prioritize vigorous enforcement of our existing laws, including campaign finance laws. The Attorney General has a duty to go after corruption in elections and government. While also pursuing stronger laws, I will lead the Attorney General's Office to use all investigative and prosecutorial tools available to identify and stop corruption and campaign finance violations in elections.
•Be a voice for the independence of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. The Clean Elections Commission is the independent watchdog for voters against unethical and illegal campaign donations, spending, and actions in elections. As the legislature attempts to limit the power of the Commission, through efforts such as the current Proposition 306, I will educate voters and work to uphold the will of the voters which created the Clean Elections Commission in the first place. Stop using taxpayer funds to defend big donors and secret donations. Remove our state from the litigation that Arizona’s current Attorney General is leading to defend secrecy for dark money donors. The current Attorney General has put the weight of our Attorney General's Office behind secrecy for donors to Americans for Prosperity Foundation, one of the organizations that succeeded in their efforts to keep the Outlaw Dirty Money Initiative off the ballot. I will stop the Attorney General’s Office from its defense of dark money on day one in office.
Protect Security in Our Elections and the Right to Vote
Vigilantly investigate and prosecute cyber-security threats to Arizona's election systems. Recognize that domestic and foreign threats exist and we must stop them from interfering with accurate vote counts and invading the privacy of voters. Collaborate with local elections officials to identify issues, investigate problems, and prosecute elections related cyber crimes.
Collaborate with election officials and voting rights advocates to protect every Arizona citizen's right to vote. Rather than waiting to be sued for violations of the Voting Rights Act or other federal voting rights laws, we will proactively review election practices and procedures to identify concerns and best practices. Ensure that practices that lead to voter suppression are eliminated, and that voters are not unlawfully removed from voter rolls or otherwise disenfranchised.
Engage in consultation with our counterparts within Arizona’s twenty-two tribal nations and local elections officials to achieve equal access to the ballot on tribal lands. Be a partner in ensuring that language barriers and access to polling locations are reduced and eliminated.
Bring visibility to voting rights laws, and the work of county elections officials and community groups that are informing Arizonans of their right to vote. Provide a publicly available voting rights guide that explains the rights of voters, informs eligible Arizonans how to restore their right to vote after disqualifying involvement with the criminal justice system, and instructs voters about where to report potential voting rights violations.
Defend Your Right to Citizen Initiatives
Be a tireless voice for our constitutionally mandated ballot initiative process. The power of citizen initiatives that our state founders embedded in our Constitution allows for the people of Arizona to be a check on state government. Yet, current politicians are making it more difficult for voters to have their voice heard through the ballot initiative process, including implementing strict compliance burdens that are not recognized in our Constitution. On my watch, the Attorney General's Office will issue advice and formal opinions that adhere to just laws and that honor the right to a fair and impartial ballot initiative process that every Arizona voter is entitled to.