Education funding measure expected to pass, Ducey declares victory

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Gov. Doug Ducey tweet about the presumed passage of Prop. 123 Thursday evening. (Source: @dougducey) Gov. Doug Ducey tweet about the presumed passage of Prop. 123 Thursday evening. (Source: @dougducey)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

With the victory comes the first of what some believe will be several lawsuits seeking to block Proposition 123.

Michael Pierce, a Phoenix resident, claims the ballot measure is unconstitutional.

In his suit, filed in federal court, Pierce says Prop. 123 violates the Arizona Enabling Act, which lays out how the state land trust is managed.  

Proposition 123 increases K-12 funding by drawing more money from the trust.  

"This is the wrong way to do the right thing," Pierce said Thursday.

Pierce says he's not affiliated with any organized opposition to the ballot measure. His views, though, are similar to others who have fought to sink what's become Gov. Doug Ducey's signature education issue. The governor declared victory for Prop. 123 Thursday evening.

"The votes have been counted and the result is clear. This is a huge victory for public education in Arizona," Ducey said in a statement. "After years of lawsuits and fighting, we are moving forward and funding our teachers, students and schools – instead of lawyers."

Although the governor has declared victory, the election results will not be official until the secretary of state, Arizona's chief election officer, certifies them.

So, what happens now that there is a federal lawsuit to block the measure? There's no clear answer yet.

"I don't know anything about the lawsuit," Arizona Treasurer Jeff DeWit said. "But I would suspect I would see many more lawsuits that are similar."

DeWit, who led the effort to defeat Proposition 123, says changes to the trust also need congressional approval. Beyond the constitutional problems, DeWit says election errors skewed the results.

Top among those errors, state election officials failed to mail 200,000 election guides to voters before early voting started. The pamphlets, which were eventually sent to voters, include not just information about the election but also arguments for and against the ballots issues.

Had those booklets arrived in time, DeWit believes more people would have voted against Prop. 123. 

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