Forszt v. Rodriguez

In Forszt v. Rodriguez, 212 Ariz. 263,11, 130 P.3d 538, 540 (App. 2006), the Court observed that "failure to strictly comply with a procedural statutory requirement does not always necessitate that the referendum petition be declared void" in the absence of a statute so stating. The Court concluded that failure to file the petition sheets with a copy of the subject ordinance attached to each sheet as required by the statute did not, in the "specific circumstances" of that case, "compel the trial court to declare the signatures be declared void," because it was not disputed the ordinance had been attached when the sheets were signed. Id.14-15. In Forszt, the petition complied with all statutory requirements throughout the process; further, the ordinance was attached to each petition sheet and was not detached until after the sheets were signed. Id.15-16. Thus, the trial court had not erred by finding the presumption of validity, destroyed by the lack of strict compliance, had been restored. Id.15. Important to the decision in Forszt, however, was the fact that we could "conceive of no independent purpose for the requirement that signatures be filed with the ordinance attached other than to confirm that they have been so circulated." Id.17. The Court noted, in that regard, that " 19-121.01(A)(1)(b) requires the clerk to detach any copies of the ordinance from the signature sheets immediately upon confirming that they were submitted attached--a provision that suggests the legislature lacked any additional purpose for requiring that the ordinance be attached when the petition is filed." Id.