Arizona Mother Helps Coalition Fight Teachers Union-Backed Ballot Initiative to End Universal School Choice

Arizona Mother Helps Coalition Fight Teachers Union-Backed Ballot Initiative to End Universal School Choice

By Corinne Murdock |

Christine Accurso is one mother helping a coalition of parents fight a 2024 ballot initiative to undo Arizona’s recent universalization of school choice. That group, AZ Decline to Sign, hopes to prevent Arizona families from losing access to up to $6,500 in educational funds through the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program. 

The organization behind the ballot initiative, Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ), is also made up of parents, as well as teachers and community organizers. They’re supported by the Arizona Education Association (AEA), the state’s primary teachers union. 

Accurso appeared on the “Conservative Circus” radio show to discuss the AZ Decline to Sign countermovement. She insisted that SOSAZ was shopping two major lies to Arizona voters. 

Accurso said that SOSAZ’s claim that the ESA Program universalization would take $1 billion from public schools wasn’t true for two main reasons: first, that parents choose where to apply their school choice funding, and second, that public schools still receive other taxpayer funds even if they lose out on ESA Program monies.

“They have been pushing lies to everyone to get them to sign a petition to be able to refer this to the ballot,” said Accurso. “No money leaves the public school unless the parent removes the child from the school to choose an ESA. They still get all the federal and local tax dollars — it’s just a portion of the tax dollars.”

Accurso said that the other lie was that SOSAZ represented parents’ interests.

“We elected our legislature and our governor and we asked them for this [school choice] bill as parents,” said Accurso. 

SOSAZ’s ballot initiative “Stop Voucher Expansion” which mischaracterizes Arizona’s ESA Program as “vouchers.”

Arizona’s school choice funds are education scholarship accounts. Vouchers are education funds awarded for use at private schools only, whereas education scholarship account funds may be applied to a variety of options, like tutoring.


Arizona’s Democratic leadership has expressed support for the SOSAZ initiative. Most recently, Senator Martín Quezada (D-Glendale), also mischaracterizing Arizona’s school choice funds as “vouchers,” claimed that allowing parents to apply those funds at their discretion was a practice lacking oversight at best, and rooted in racism at worst.

The SOSAZ ballot initiative has also garnered the support of 2024 state legislative candidate and Arizona Democratic Party leader Brianna Westbrook, a gender dysphoric man previously named Mike McDanel.

The ESA Program universalization takes effect on September 24.


Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

More Arizona Voters Coming Forward With Ballots They Received Not Addressed to Them

More Arizona Voters Coming Forward With Ballots They Received Not Addressed to Them

By Corinne Murdock |

Several more Arizona voters have come forward to AZ Free News to report they’ve been receiving ballots for voters that should’ve been removed from the rolls years ago – in at least one case, several decades. This report is not to say that this is a widespread issue, but to reflect the fact that AZ Free News has received more reports of this issue from concerned voters.

One voter, Christine Accurso, told AZ Free News that her cousin, Nadia, had moved from her residence to Kuwait a decade ago. Despite her and Nadia both telling Maricopa County for years that Nadia no longer resides in Arizona, the county has continued to send ballots in Nadia’s name to Accurso’s address. Now, Accurso has another ballot for her cousin for Maricopa County’s jurisdictional elections.

The struggles began several years after Maricopa County purportedly removed Nadia from the voter rolls in 2011 at Nadia’s request. As expected, no ballots arrived for Nadia in the 2012 and 2014 election cycles. (However: even if the county had neglected to remove Nadia from their voter rolls initially, Accurso added that Nadia wouldn’t have gotten a mail-in ballot. Nadia had only ever voted in person, and confirmed with Accurso that she’d never signed up for the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) or any opt-ins to receive her ballot by mail.)

Then in 2016, Accurso said that she received a mail-in ballot for her cousin. They both contacted the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office. At first, they were relieved to hear from the office that Nadia would be removed immediately. Then 2018 came – and with it, another ballot for Nadia.

“The weirder thing is that we didn’t get [ballots] in 2012 or 2014 – for those other elections we didn’t get one for her. Then all of a sudden in 2016 we got one,” said Accurso. “The thing that bothers me the most is the fact that [Maricopa County has] been told multiple times [to remove her], and we’ve called and confirmed multiple times [that she was removed]. Then this year I got another one. Something is just wrong.”

AZ Free News was also informed that another individual received a ballot in 2020 for her husband, who’d been deceased for 20 years. That was the first year the deceased individual received a ballot, and for some of the family members it reportedly opened up old wounds connected to the loss.

Yet another concerned voter told AZ Free News that she received ballots for her son in 2018 and 2020 – despite the fact that he moved out of the state in 2017. She marked and returned the ballots to Maricopa County election officials both times to indicate that he no longer lived there.

“I haven’t checked [this year] to see if he still hasn’t been taken off of the [registered voter] list,” explained the voter. “I just remember thinking – how easy to cheat!”

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

*Correction – An earlier version of this article incorrectly listed Accurso’s cousin as her sister.