The grassroots effort to overturn a massive expansion of Arizona's school-voucher program will meet little resistance in November, as major school-choice supporters will largely sit out the campaign over Proposition 305 — the ballot measure that will decide the future of their signature legislative achievement.

Prop. 305 asks voters whether they want to keep or repeal the expansion of the Empowerment Scholarship Account program, which gives public money to parents to pay private school tuition. A "yes" vote keeps the expansion; a "no" vote overturns it.

School-choice backers would have been dealt a huge defeat in a state that has for decades been at the center of the national school-choice movement. There's also the potential that a "no" win would be voter protected, said Joe Kanefield, a partner with Ballard Spahr and a former state election director. Kanefield says the argument would hinge on what it means to "decide" a referendum as laid out in the Voter Protection Act approved by voters in 1998. It’s a decision ultimately up to the courts.

"I do see it as an open question," Kanefield said. "I can think of good arguments on both sides. What does that mean 'deciding' the referendum?"

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