The Range


MINORITY RULES: Looks like we'll be able to vote in November on an initiative that would take away our right to pass an initiative! The Majority Rules proposition--which would require that any ballot measure that increases taxes pass by a majority of all registered voters, rather than just a majority of those who bother to cast a vote--has enough signatures to make the ballot, according to Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer. Essentially, if voters approve the initiative, all future nonvoters will be considered "no" votes on any proposal to raise any taxes. As a practical matter, it means initiatives that raise taxes will require the support of somewhere around 80 percent of voters to pass.


TIME TO DIE: Looks like we won't be able to vote in November on whether we want to raise the sales tax to pay for transportation improvements! The Arizona Supreme Court rules that backers of the TIME Initiative--which would have raised the sales tax by a penny per dollar to fund highway improvements, commuter rail between Tucson and Phoenix, and local road and mass-transit projects--waited too long to file a court challenge to Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer's decision that they didn't have enough signatures to make the ballot.

The Supreme Court decision means that a proposal to amend the Arizona Constitution to preserve state-trust land is off the ballot as well. Supporters of that measure also had many of their signatures rejected by election officials.


CLOSING THE GAP: New voter-registration figures from Arizona Secretary of State Jan Brewer show that Democrats are outdoing Republicans on the voter-registration front. In the last two years, the number of registered Democrats has gone up by 110,405, while the number of Republicans has increased by roughly 57,000. Republicans still hold an overall edge of more than 103,000 voters.

The number of new voters registering as something besides Republican or Democrat continues to climb. In the last two years, more than 94,000 new voters chose to reject the two major parties when filling out their registration form.


PROMISES, PROMISES: Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama delivers his acceptance speech in front of 78,000 people at Invesco Field in Denver. Says Obama: "What is that American promise? It's a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect.

"It's a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

"Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools, and new roads, and science, and technology.

"Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who's willing to work.

"That's the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper, I am my sister's keeper.

"That's the promise we need to keep. That's the change we need right now."


SARAH WHO? Arizona Sen. John McCain unveils his vice presidential pick: Sarah Palin, a 44-year-old "hockey mom" who has been the governor of Alaska for nearly two years. Palin, who came into office with a reputation as a reformer of Alaska's corrupt politics, was previously mayor of Wasilla, a city outside of Anchorage that's home to about 9,000 people. Palin is pro-life, supports the teaching of creationism alongside evolution, wants to drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and remains a skeptic on global warming, which has the conservative base of the GOP ecstatic over the choice.

"She's exactly who I need," McCain declares in his first appearance with Palin. "She's exactly who this country needs to help me fight the same old Washington politics of 'me first and country second.'"


WILDCATS VANDALIZE VANDALS: After concerns about nearby lightning delay the start of the game by more than an hour, the UA football team opens the 2008 season by annihilating the Idaho Vandals, 70-0. The Wildcats haven't scored that many points in a game since they defeated the Texas College of Mines and Metallurgy 74-0 way back in 1921.



John McCain defends his choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate to Brian Williams of NBC: "She's ready," McCain says. "Facts are funny things. She's been in elected office longer than Sen. Obama. She's been the chief executive of a state that supplies 20 percent of America's energy. She has balanced budgets. She's had executive experience as governor, as mayor, as city council member and PTA. So she was in elected office when Sen. Obama was still, quote, a community organizer. He's never had one day of executive experience. I think it's almost ludicrous to compare her experience in elected office and as a leader of one of the most important states in America--certainly the largest--and compare her experience with his. It's no contest."