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Voter referendum on Arizona school vouchers makes ballot

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — Opponents of Arizona’s new universal private school vouchers program have succeeded in blocking the law until voters can weigh in next year.

County recorders checking a random 5 percent sample of the 111,000 signatures that passed an initial state review have certified the total number of valid signatures has exceeded the minimum needed to send the measure to the ballot.

Maricopa County officials on Tuesday finished checking nearly 4,000 signatures and certified more than 3,400 were valid, putting the referendum over the threshold.

Voucher backers have already filed a lawsuit seeking to invalidate the voter referendum. Republican lawmakers and Gov. Doug Ducey enacted the voucher proposal in the spring.

Under Arizona law, it can be blocked though a signature gathering effort.

Backers said they gave parents more choice and they have filed a lawsuit seeking to throw out the voter referendum effort.

Opponents argued vouchers siphoned money from cash-starved public schools.

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