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Forgery in Arizona Senate Primary


What happens when forged signatures show up on documents? Forgery is the act of creating, copying, or changing a signature or document for deceitful purposes. Examples of forgery are signing a name to a check that is not the person's own, falsifying documents, and copying art objects, amongst others.

What Was Forged?

Forgery claims were brought up in the recent Arizona state Senate race between Toby Farmer and Don Shooter. Farmer is challenging Shooter in the Republican primary challenge. Shooter called for an investigation into Farmer's petition in response to this challenge and asked for Farmer's disqualification from the primary.

In the United States, a primary challenge occurs when an already elected official is challenged by a member of the same political party in an upcoming election. When a primary challenge occurs, petitions must be gathered to show that the challenger has a swell of support.

Shooter provided evidence that claimed seven signatures on two pages of the petition were forgeries. Farmer had personally signed the back of the petitions to indicate that he was the one that collected and was witness to the signatures.

A handwriting expert was summoned and ruled that while the signatures were forged, they did not match the handwriting of Farmer, meaning that he was not the one that signed the forgeries.

What Was the Forgery Ruling?

The Arizona Supreme Court ruled that when forgeries show up on nominating petitions, the candidate cannot immediately be held responsible unless it can be proven that the candidate knew that the signatures were forged.

This means that even though a candidate may be the one that collected forgeries, proving that the candidate knew of that signatures were forged becomes even more difficult. If the candidate was proven aware of any forgeries, they would forfeit the ability to run for office for five years.