Arizonans, Stung by Unelected Gov, Will Vote to Change System

The state of Arizona doesn’t currently have the position of lieutenant governor in its government, but that could change if voters approve a ballot measure this November. Right now, if the Governor prematurely vacates the office, the Secretary of State is the replacement. That is how Republican Secretary of State Jan Brewer ended up becoming Governor, by replacing Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano when she left to become Secretary of Homeland Security. From the “Arizona Republic” via Ballot Access News:

Lawmakers this year approved Senate Concurrent Resolution 1013, which asks voters to consider changing the secretary of state’s title to lieutenant governor.

Arizona is one of only a handful of states that do not have a lieutenant governor. The question goes to the voters Nov. 2.

The move would require a party’s nominee for lieutenant governor to run on a joint ticket with that party’s nominee for governor. The goal, supporters say, is “truth in advertising” –to make clear to voters that the lieutenant governor would become the state’s top executive should the governor leave office before the end of his or her term.

Arizona is experiencing firsthand the importance of a line of succession for Governor. They’ll get the chance this November to change the state’s constitution if they don’t like the current process. This reform would create a single joint general-election ticket for Governor and Lieutenant Governor, so they are always of the same political party, creating consistency in government. It does mean the party in the Governor’s mansion will also always have control of the traditional functions of the Secretary of State. In addition, it will slightly shorten the general ballot by eliminating the separate statewide vote for Arizona’s second in command.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at