On April 11, both sides filed opening briefs in U.S. District Court in Arizona Green Party v Bennett, 2:14cv-375. The issue is whether the February 28 petition deadline is too early. The law says the petition is due 180 days before the primary, and that all parties, even newly-qualifying parties, must nominate by primary. Arizona primaries this year are August 26. The state says it needs six months lead time to get ready for the new party’s primary.
Before 1999, the Arizona petition deadline for a new party was 112 days before the primary. Initiative petitions are due in Arizona in the first week in July, only four months before the general election. This suggests that if the state can cope with initiative petitions only four months before the appropriate election, it ought to be able to handle petitions to qualify a new party four months before the appropriate election.
The Green Party’s brief cites many cases that early petition deadlines for newly-qualifying parties are unconstitutional, but the state’s brief does not discuss any precedents on that issue. Also, the state says that the Green Party appeared on the ballot in 2002 and 2004, but in truth the party did not qualify in Arizona either of those years.