A.R.S. 9-500.14 Interpretation

In Kromko v. City of Tucson, 202 Ariz. 499, 47 P.3d 1137 (App. 2002), the Court was required to consider the statutory phrase "influencing the outcomes of elections." The phrase is contained within A.R.S. 9-500.14 (Supp. 2003). That statute provides that a "city or town shall not use its personnel, equipment, materials, buildings or other resources for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections." Id. Though the direct issue in Kromko was whether a communication was for the purpose of "influencing the outcomes of elections," the court made it clear that "the statute prevents the City from using public funds to influence the outcome of an election." Kromko, 202 Ariz. at 503, P13, 47 P.3d at 1141. Kromko accepted and applied the principles set forth in Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1, 46 L. Ed. 2d 659, 96 S. Ct. 612 (1976), that communications influenced an election only when they rose to the level of "express advocacy" for a candidate or position. Kromko did not apply Buckley's precise formulation for what constituted express advocacy. Kromko, 202 Ariz. at 502-03, P10, 47 P.3d at 1140-41. Relying on subsequent authorities, the Kromko court held that communications influenced elections when the communication "'taken as a whole, unambiguously urges' a person to vote in a particular manner." Id. (quoting Schroeder v. Irvine City Council, 97 Cal. App. 4th 174, 118 Cal.Rptr.2d 330, 339 (App. 2002)).