The Arizona Democratic Party goes to federal court Tuesday, Oct. 3, in a bid to overturn a ban on “ballot harvesting” and ensure that ballots cast in the wrong precinct are counted anyway. The Democrats’ attorney, Bruce Spiva, contends the Republican-controlled Legislature acted illegally last year in making it a felony for an individual to take anyone else’s early ballot to a polling place. Spiva said he will present evidence that the measure will cause undue harm to minorities and other groups. But Sara Agne, attorney for the Arizona Republican Party, who is defending the law, will argue that lawmakers were entitled to put procedures in place designed to prevent fraud. Spiva could have an uphill battle.
Articles about voting issues in Arizona.
The American Civil Liberties Union launched a nationwide campaign Sunday on voting rights, with an emphasis in Arizona on restoring the voting rights of people convicted of a felony crime. The Let People Vote campaign is working with community members to help pass a bill in the Arizona Legislature to restore the voting rights of citizens with felony convictions upon the completion of their sentence. Alessandra Soler, ACLU Arizona executive director, said the organization aims to take back the vote in direct response to the Trump administration’s investigation of voter fraud, a problem she said “doesn’t exist.”
As next year’s statewide elections get closer, several Arizona agencies are locked in a bitter feud to determine who has the power to police so-called “dark money” groups that spend millions to influence races. The dispute is playing out in complicated legal tit-for-tats, but the heart of the fight is simple: Should the office of Secretary of State Michele Reagan or the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, a voter-created body, play the role of enforcer? And is there room for two policemen? It’s unclear how the dispute will get resolved. Ultimately, courts may have to decide.
On the day of the general election in 2016, Maricopa County voters experienced problems at the polls. Some of those problems, according to elections officials, were the result of the “epollbooks” used in the place of paper voter rolls. Officials say the software had trouble handling the sheer number of voters the Phoenix metro area was seeing. “There were several instances of double voting,” said Adrian Fontes, who was elected Maricopa County Recorder that day and has been tasked with figuring out what went wrong. … The president of Robis Elections, the company that provided epoll book services for Maricopa County, told CBS 5 Investigates that his company was not hacked by Russians or anyone else. … But after Fontes took office, he took the drastic measure of ending the contract with Robis and tasking county employees to create a new system from scratch — one that would avoid the problems and alleged security vulnerabilities of the 2016 election.
Arizona: Voter fraud in Arizona: How often does it happen, how is it stopped? | The Arizona Republic
President Donald Trump has called voter fraud an issue that may have swayed the outcome of the 2016 popular vote. Without proof, he claimed that millions of people voted illegally in the election. Through an executive order in May, he created a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The commission likely could replicate work done in Arizona since 2008. Since that year, state officials have examined hundreds of thousands of cases where someone might have voted twice in an election. After scrutinizing those cases, 30 were sent to the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. Twenty resulted in convictions. The path to those convictions started with the work of the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, now run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
A judge on Tuesday refused to block a new state law making it easier for opponents to challenge citizen initiatives, but she sidestepped a decision on whether the law violates the state Constitution. The ruling from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens said opponents of the law passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature haven’t yet been harmed because there are no pending initiatives that would be affected by the new standard. “The Court finds this matter is not ripe for judicial review,” Stephens wrote. “Plaintiffs believe House Bill 2244 will affect their future initiative efforts but this Court finds that expectation is not sufficient to make this matter ripe for judicial review of the constitutionality of HB 2244.” The law goes into effect Wednesday and will apply to all future initiatives.
On Feb. 22, Laura Sue Cates registered to vote in Sullivan County, Tennessee. Previously, she had been registered to vote in Arizona’s Coconino County, so the Sullivan County Election Commission sent Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan a formal notice to ensure that Cates’ voter registration would be removed from Arizona’s rolls. Every day, the thousands of voting jurisdictions in the U.S. share information about current voter registrations to guard against people being registered in multiple places. The Arizona secretary of state receives hundreds each week and forwards them to the appropriate county recorder, as voter rolls in Arizona are maintained at the county level. A sample of a week’s worth of these notices, received between March 1 and March 7, obtained under the state’s public records law, shows 240 voters were identified by out-of-state voting jurisdictions.
Arizona election officials had sharp words Wednesday for President Donald Trump after he suggested that states that are withholding voter information from a presidential commission have something to hide. “What are they worried about?” Trump asked, during remarks at the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. “There’s something, there always is,” Trump said. “We could say the same thing about him,” shot back Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez. “What is he hiding in his taxes?”
The Arizona Republican Party sent out an email Wednesday — and a similar tweet last week — that is raising some eyebrows about both the method and the timing. The blast email was titled, in screaming all-caps, “IMPORTANT INFO MISSING” and tells the reader that their “voter profile status has been marked incomplete.” It then directs the reader to fill out a form “in the next 24 hours to remain active in our system.” The email is clearly marked with the state GOP logo and is signed by the Arizona Republican Party. It was sent to the party’s general subscriber list. Communications Director Torunn Sinclair declined to say how many people received it.
Arizona: After battling politicians, panel that draws voting boundaries closes | The Arizona Republic
For more than six years, the panel charged with drawing Arizona’s political boundaries was the target of criticism, protests and repeated lawsuits. It even suffered a break-in at its Capitol Mall office. But despite the headwinds, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission triumphed in the key legal and policy battles it faced. After closing its doors for good late last month, it leaves behind a legacy that ensures it will continue as Arizona’s political mapmaker, even as skeptics doubt the value of letting an independent panel, rather than lawmakers, draw political boundaries. That skepticism came with a tab paid by taxpayers: $7.3 million in legal and travel costs as the commission defended itself in five legal battles, plus nearly $400,000 to cover legal costs incurred by the Legislature, the governor and the attorney general as they went to court to question the commission’s work.