Arizona Libertarian congressional candidate's petition signatures questioned by voters

“That is definitely not me. Not even close to my signature. That’s very upsetting,” said a Phoenix resident.
Vote sign

Petition signatures for the Libertarian candidate running for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District, Michelle Martin, are being questioned by voters who claim the signatures next to their names are forgeries.

Candidates must obtain about 800 signatures from registered voters who support their candidacy to appear on the ballot in Arizona, the Arizona Republic reported.

Martin's campaign submitted about 1,200 signatures. However, several people listed on the petition told the newspaper that they hadn't signed it. Four people viewed photos of the signatures that were submitted, confirming that the signatures weren't theirs.

Stephen Riordan, a Phoenix resident whose name and signature were listed on Martin's petition, texted the Republic, “That is definitely not me. Not even close to my signature. That’s very upsetting.”

Shannon Speagle and two other residents in that district, also told the Republic that the signatures listed next to their names on the petition weren't theirs.

Speagle said she contacted three of her neighbors Friday after the Republic told her that their names were on the petition, and they all told her that the images of their signatures were also “bogus.”

“I’m disappointed,” Speagle said. “It completely delegitimizes this candidacy.”

According to the paperwork, nine people helped gather signatures. One of the nine was Jeremy Garrett, an electoral campaign manager at the progressive group Our Voice Our Vote, according to his LinkedIn.

Garrett and another person who gathered signatures are registered Democrats, according to the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, and another individual was unaffiliated with any political party. The office was unable to immediately confirm the other signature gatherers' party affiliations.

When reached by phone on Friday by the Republic, Martin identified herself, then hung up. She didn't respond to multiple requests for comment about the alleged forgeries. Garrett and several other signature gatherers also didn't respond to requests for comment.

Arizona county election authorities only verify candidate petition signatures if they are challenged. April 15 is the deadline to file a legal challenge.

The district is competitive with multiple Democratic candidates seeking to run against incumbent GOP Rep. David Schweikert. The general election race for the district is labeled a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.