Last Call for Petition Signatures

This is it. We can’t underscore this enough: in two days we will either have enough signatures to stop the universal ESA vouchers which will decimate our public schools, or we won’t and this destructive expansion will devastate our state.

If you haven’t signed, please get come into our office TODAY 10am-4pm or TOMORROW 10am-12pm. Every single signature matters. A lot. If you need to turn in petitions, please do that NOW. Save Our Schools needs to have a handle on their counts to see if they are going to be successful.

Still need your signatures notarized? You can find a location at

Director’s Cut | September, 2022

Director’s Cut | September, 2022

PCDP Director Miranda Lopez

With 34 days left to register voters for the midterm election, let’s take a moment to reflect on everything that Democrats have achieved over the last few months, and the work that we still have to do.

President Biden’s administration has had several wins over the last few weeks. After passing the Inflation Reduction Act, Biden announced up to $20,000 in school debt cancellation for federal borrowers making under $125,000 a year. Both of these moves drummed up a lot of excitement for our younger population, who are facing a climate crisis and rising cost of living in their immediate future. Make sure to talk with any high schoolers that you know about these issues and why it is so important for them to vote. National High School Voter Registration Week starts on September 19th, and that would be a great time to get their registration up to date if they will be 18 before or on November 8th, 2022.

The office of Pima County District Attorney Laura Conovor and Planned Parenthood have worked together to file an injunction in Pima County to make Arizona’s near total ban on abortion unenforceable. Keep an eye out for the final Pima Superior Court ruling that will be released later this month. 

Unfortunately, the Arizona GOP-stacked Court ruled that the Free and Fair Elections (FE) campaign fell about 1,458 signatures short, despite the fact that FE spent months collecting over 475,000 signatures which was more than twice the amount needed to qualify. 

Leading the effort to throw out signatures was the Free Enterprise Club (a dark money group determined to throw out initiatives that return power to the people), the Honest Elections Project and RITE (Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections), an organization headed by former Trump White House counsel Derek Lyons; RITE was founded by former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove, and its board includes former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr. 

FE is asking voters to vote NO on Propositions 128, 129 and 132, all of which if passed would make the initiative petition process even more difficult to maneuver than it is now.

Our community in Pima County was devastated by the news of Constable Deborah Martinez-Garibay who was killed while serving an eviction notice in early September. The Pima County Democrats officially moved not to appoint a replacement for her on the November ballot. It is very likely that soon the position of Constable will no longer be Elected and instead appointed by a body like the Pima County Board of Supervisors.

Although I only met her a couple of times, to me Deborah was a positive force of energy who inspired me to get more involved in my own community. I hope we can all learn from the passion she had for life.

Please remember to get your petitions for the Stop Universal Vouchers campaign signed, notarized, and returned to PCDP headquarters by 4pm on September 16th. If you turn it in afterwards, we cannot guarantee that your signatures will make it to Phoenix on time!

In Memoriam: Dr. Helen S. Schaefer

In Memoriam: Dr. Helen S. Schaefer

Helen S. Schaefer

Dr. Helen S. Schaefer, a champion of arts and cultural organizations and endeavors at the University of Arizona and across Southern Arizona, as well as a prolific supporter of the Pima County Democratic Party, and the namesake of the Poetry Center‘s Helen S. Schaefer Building, died on September 1st, 2022. She was 89.

Helen S. Schaefer and her husband, University of Arizona President Emeritus John P. Schaefer, spent more than 60 years supporting arts and cultural organizations in Tucson, volunteering on boards and making significant financial contributions to PCDP.

Helen served on several other boards including the League of Women Voters, United Way, Tucson Symphony Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra League, now known as the League of American Orchestras. She was also a Catalina Democrat, committed to supporting the Pima County Democratic Party through annual donations of $1,000.

Born in 1933 in Evanston, Illinois, she studied chemistry at the University of Michigan as an undergraduate. She continued her studies in chemistry at the University of Illinois, where she met John. The Schaefers moved to Tucson in 1960, when John joined the Department of Chemistry faculty. Helen completed her Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Illinois in the 1970s.

Completing her doctoral studies had long been a personal goal, not a matter of career advancement, Helen told Archive Tucson, an oral history project from University Libraries’ Special Collections.

“I just mostly did it for my satisfaction, to know that I had actually finished something,” she said. “I didn’t like leaving something undone.”

In Memoriam: Deborah Martinez-Garibay

In Memoriam: Deborah Martinez-Garibay

Born on September 2nd in 1978, Deborah Martinez-Garibay was killed in the line of duty on August 25th, 2022 while serving an eviction notice as a Pima County Constable. She was a wife, a mother, a daughter, a US veteran, a community organizer, and a public servant who will be forever remembered for her compassion and drive.

After 9/11, Deborah enlisted in the US army and served for 16 years. After being injured in Afghanistan, she came back to Tucson and served her fellow veterans through several programs, including PGA H.O.P.E. where she served as an ambassador. This program allowed her to combine her passion for golf and her dedication to fellow veterans by helping reintegrate at-risk veterans back into the local community. According to veteran Gordon Grant, she was ″Just a tremendous person, always thinking of others and looking toward helping others in so many different ways.” In 2019, Deborah was honored for her work and received a vehicle from the Recycled Ride program.

Her family remembers her as an outgoing, outspoken activist whose laughter “could fill an entire room and consumed her entire body.” Her life will be remembered as dedicated to the service of her country and her community, and our deepest condolences are to her friends and family for this devastating loss.

“The biggest thing that I am seeing [working as a PGA H.O.P.E. Ambassador] is more than they’re happy about learning the game of golf, they’re happy to have the social interaction with other veterans,” -Deborah Martinez-Garibay

GOP Extremists Harass Save Our Schools Petition Circulators

GOP Extremists Harass Save Our Schools Petition Circulators

Hecklers have been harassing volunteers collecting signatures for the Stop Voucher Expansion petitions at libraries & business locations. They carry signs that say “Decline to Sign.”

“I never in all the years that we have been working on initiative campaigns have we ever seen a coordinated effort like this. We usually see it in lawsuits after being successful,” said Tamar Rala Kreiswirth of The AZ Ground Game (TAGG). So, who is behind the opposition to the Stop Universal Vouchers initiative?

The Goldwater Institute (which pays for the website) and Betsy Devos’ group, the American Federation for Children (which pays for have organized their harassers to:

  • Disrupt signature sites.
  • Call local businesses that have historically welcomed petition circulators.
  • Contact the Goldwater Institute and the American Federation for Children to provide the location of signature gatherers
  • Take photos if a petition is left unattended
  • Take photos of the petitions and to check to see that the petitions have the dates correct, have been checked by the volunteer and have the county names written on the page.

Please, please drive to a petition signing location this weekend to sign the petition. Why must we repeal this bill? The simple reason is that this will decimate our Public School system. How? Click here for more info.

We have until mid-September to sign. If we don’t stop this and the Voucher Expansion becomes law, it is basically the last step to undermining public education in our country. Arizona is the test site for this legislation.

From Save our Schools: “Tucson volunteers are hard at work to Stop Voucher Expansion — let’s help get them over the finish line!”

If you haven’t signed yet, there is no time to waste: we now have just 39 days to turn in 118,823 valid signatures and stop the wholesale dismantling of public education in Arizona.

Volunteers are adding more signing locations every day. Sign and return at the locations below, or find a hub near you at

– Larry Bodine

Notary Hours Update

Notary Hours Update

We’ve had a recent change in our notary schedule. A newsletter post sent on 8/4 said that we would have a notary in the office every Friday from 10am-12pm. That has now changed.

We will now have a notary in the office every Monday from 10am to 12pm through the 2022 general election.

Thank you for your patience as we adjust to the schedules of our volunteers!

Notes from the Chair | August 4, 2022

PCDP would like to congratulate all Democratic candidates who have secured their nomination in the primary thus far. More on that after some very exciting news: we are in escrow to sell our Headquarters building. It was a difficult but necessary decision to put the building up for sale, due to the Headquarters space failing to comply with ADA standards and lacking sufficient parking and lighting at night, a dangerous combination for volunteers and staff.

Our transition timeline will have us moved into a new building by March of 2023. We are very excited about this new chapter in the history of PCDP, and will keep you updated on our progress in finding a new headquarters.

We now (for the most part) have our Democratic nominees for the 2022 general election, and we know who our challengers are.

Many of Trump’s endorsed candidates have won their primaries, and they will be putting every effort into taking Democratic seats in November. We will have to work twice as hard in order to keep and gain candidates who are dedicated to preserving our democracy, which includes the key fundamentals of:

  • Protecting public school funding
  • Protecting reproductive rights
  • Supporting a path to citizenship for immigrants, protecting DACA recipients, and halting constructing of the border wall
  • Reaffirming the existence of climate change and finding effective, science-based solutions
  • Creating more gun legislation to protect the lives of Arizonans from yet another mass shooting

Now the work begins. It is our job to get our Democratic candidates over the line. All the LDs are ready to make that happen.

July brought good news for Democrats, including a drop in gas prices and the passage of a historic climate action package which will invest hundreds of billions of dollars into the green energy industry. In retaliation, Republican senators delayed passage of the PACT act which was supposed to allocate funds to support veterans needing care for toxic exposure while fighting our nation’s wars. Eventually PACT passed, but not without heavy criticism thrown at Republican leadership.

Once again, we have a petition to sign here at the office. Learn more about the effort to stop voucher expansion here.

We are also busy organizing our annual Udall dinner. This year will be the first in-person Udall event since 2019. Invitations have gone out, tables are being sold, and tickets are still available! We have an exciting evening planned, and we look forward to seeing everyone at the Desert Diamond Casino on September 17 at 6pm. Click here to buy a ticket.

There is an opportunity to turn AZ blue in ‘22 because of radical Republicans running for office. We cannot allow anyone who believes the election was stolen to remain in office, especially in a position like the Secretary of State – which is wholly responsible for the integrity and transparency of our elections process.

We must continue to point out how dangerous it will be for Arizonans if extreme candidates like Mark Finchem are elected to positions of power; he peddles the Big Lie, is an active member of the Oath Keeper militia, supports QAnon, and was present at the violent Capitol insurrection. We have less than 100 days to get this message across. Let’s get to work!

Bonnie Heidler

Chair, PCDP

Stop Universal School Vouchers

Stop Universal School Vouchers

What happened in the legislature

As you may already know, HB2853 was signed into law. This universal school voucher expansion program, if it isn’t stopped, will be the first of its kind in the United States and the death knell for public education in Arizona. It will subsidize private school education including elite and religious schools, and there are no constraints on who is eligible, with little accountability or transparency.

The group Save our Schools (SOS) is working to collect 118,823 signatures that will refer HB2853 back to the November ballot for voters to decide on whether to keep or remove this law. Signatures are due to the Secretary of State’s office (turned in all at once) by September 23rd. That means Pima volunteers will have until mid September to help collect signatures.

How you can help

Voters signing petitions back in March. Don’t worry, we are signing indoors right now!

The petition to refer HB2853 to the ballot is now available to sign and circulate at the PCDP office. We will not have regular office notary hours until after the August 2nd primary election, but signatures can be notarized by any notary in Arizona; it doesn’t have to be a volunteer notary with PCDP.

You cannot sign this petition online. It must be signed in person. You must be a registered voter to sign the petition. Any party affiliation can sign.

You must be eligible to be registered to vote in Arizona in order to circulate this petition as a volunteer.

Your signature may appear on a petition you circulate. If you are a notary, you cannot notarize a petition that you have already put your signature on.

The main point of contact for Save Our Schools in Southern Arizona is Christina Vazquez. Please call our office at (520) 326-3716 during our office hours to ask for Christina’s contact information.

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