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Arizona will accept ballot pamphlet opinions starting May 20

Got an opinion on abortion? Ranked-choice voting? Border security?

For $75, you can share your thoughts with pretty much everyone registered to vote in November.

That's all it takes to get a 300-word argument in a ballot pamphlet that's going to be mailed to about 4 million registered Arizona voters ahead of the Nov. 5 election.

And you might want to start thinking about what you would say now.

Arguments will begin to be accepted at noon Monday, May 20. And then you'll have until 11:59 p.m. June 20 to submit them.

It's all part of a long-standing state law that allows individuals, organizations and political committees to make their own pitch to voters about ballot issues. The Secretary of State's Office then mails these out, one to each head of household with at least one registered voter.

It all starts from a website. First, pick out the issues on which you would like to opine. For all the rest, it's pretty much straightforward. Just follow the instructions, type in what you want to say — up to 300 words — fill out the rest of the form and then, when prompted, make your $75 payment online with a credit card.

What you do with those 300 words is pretty much up to you.

The Secretary of State's Office doesn't edit for content. That means any typos you make will remain. So proofread carefully.

But the agency said it might seek legal advice before printing an argument with some four-letter words not generally used in polite conversation.

Pretty much anything else, however, is in bounds, whether it actually relates to the ballot measure or not.

Don't worry about filling in the ballot number, like "Proposition 100." Leave a blank and that will be filled in by the office when it finally assigned the numbers.

There are constraints.

The web site won't accept efforts to use bold or italics to make a point, though people are free to capitalize for emphasis.

Also, only online submissions will be accepted. Forget about typing or printing up something at home and showing up at the Secretary of State's Office, paper and $75 in hand.

And if you have a lot to say — and money to burn — there's no limit to the number of ballot arguments you can submit, either on one or multiple issues. Just submit those $75 fees.

There already are six measures, referred by the Legislature, that will be on the ballot.

Lawmakers are looking at at least two more, one on border security and another on changes in election laws.

And several group that are collecting signatures are expected to submit their petitions.

But here's the thing.

Just because a group has taken out petitions to put something on the ballot does not mean it actually will appear there in November. They could find they didn't get enough signatures by the July 3 deadline — two weeks after arguments are due. Or a court challenge could remove it.

In either case, you're just out of luck — and out your $75. There are no refunds.

On the other side of the equation, if lawmakers add measures to the ballot after the June 20 deadline, the Secretary of State's Office will reopen the portal for new comments.

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