A former consultant to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office said he was wrongly portrayed as contributing to that office’s failure to distribute publicity pamphlets in advance of this month’s special election. An internal investigation by Secretary Michele Reagan’s office painted the former consultant, Craig Stender, as providing guidance on how to build a pamphlet mailing list for the May 17 election. That list omitted nearly 200,000 households, affecting more than 400,000 voters. Some critics have said failure to deliver pamphlets to all voters might have affected the outcome of the vote on Proposition 123, which won by 1.8 percentage points. The pamphlets included arguments for and against the ballot measure that will put $3.5 billion into public schools over the next 10 years.
But Stender and documents accompanying state Elections Director Eric Spencer’s own internal investigation contradict that claim. Instead, staffers in the elections office — new to the job after a turnover from the previous administration — sought Stender’s advice for a mailing related to the March 22 presidential-preference election.
The six-page investigation doesn’t make that clear. It quotes a Feb. 10 email from a secretary of state staffer: “We are attempting to send out a mailer to households. … (The deputy elections director) asked if you might know how we did this in the past?”