Arizona lawmakers yesterday rejected another attempt to ban the practice of people collecting others’ election ballots to turn in. Such a practice was utilized by the group Citizens for a Better Arizona during the successful 2012 recall of then-Senate President Russell Pearce. CBA workers collected early-voting ballots from voters who agreed to have their completed ballot hand-delivered to elections officials to make sure it was counted. A ban on such a practice was included in 2013’s House Bill 2305, a Republican-backed package of changes to election law. Seeing that Democrats, third-party supporters, and other non-Republicans had enough support to put the issue on the ballot for voters to decide, the Republican-led Legislature repealed the whole law last year, but Democrats have kept their eye out for any attempts to pass parts of this bill again.
The activist group Citizens for a Better went to the state GOP headquarters in Phoenix to demand an apology after Maricopa County Republican Party chairman A.J. LaFaro accused the group of voter fraud. LaFaro drummed up nationwide controversy by implying he witnessed voter fraud when someone with Citizens for a Better Arizona dropped off some voters’ completed ballots at the Maricopa County elections headquarters, which is actually a completely legal practice. “LaFaro started the rumor,” CBA organizer Ramiro Luna said to state GOP executive director Chad Heywood, who greeted the protesters in the lobby yesterday. “The Republican Party, the extreme right has been spreading that rumor so much that it has caused much harm. My young canvasser right here, the cops got called on her. We have another canvasser who got put in the back of a cop car because of these statements.”
In the run-up to last year’s general election, several political action groups worked to get residents of low-income and high-minority neighborhoods on Maricopa County’s permanent early voting list. As Nov. 6 approached, those groups had thousands of volunteers knocking on doors to encourage people to mail back those ballots and, if voters couldn’t for any reason, offering to deliver ballots to the county. “We’re in this to really be able to give a community a voice,” said Petra Falcon, executive director of Promise Arizona, a Latino rights group that mobilized one of the larger ballot-collection efforts. “Voting is the very first step to doing that.”
Chaos erupted Friday in the recall election of Senate President Russell Pearce. A Legislative District 18 voter filed a lawsuit alleging that Olivia Cortes is a sham candidate running with the intention of pulling votes away from candidate Jerry Lewis to help Pearce. The Secretary of State’s Office declined to investigate the same complaint another district voter filed.
Cortes, who has for weeks evaded questions about her candidacy and political positions, on Friday sent out an e-mail announcing a campaign website and seeking voter support. Chandler attorney Tom Ryan filed the lawsuit on behalf of Mary Lou Boettcher. Ryan also represented Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that collected signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Boettcher, a Republican, was involved in that group.
The lawsuit alleges that Cortes is a “well-known supporter” of Pearce and “has no campaign committee, no volunteers for her campaign and her campaign is being financed and operated entirely by those who wish to dilute the vote in favor of recalled Senator Russell Pearce.” It states that Cortes is a fraudulent and diversionary candidate, in violation of state law.
Chaos erupted Friday in the recall election of Senate President Russell Pearce. A Legislative District 18 voter filed a lawsuit alleging that Olivia Cortes is a fraud candidate running with the intention of pulling votes away from candidate Jerry Lewis to help Pearce. The Secretary of State’s Office declined to investigate the same complaint another district voter filed with that office.
Cortes, who has for weeks evaded questions about her candidacy and political positions, on Friday sent out an e-mail announcing a campaign Web site and seeking voter support.
Chandler attorney Tom Ryan filed the lawsuit on behalf of Mary Lou Boettcher. Ryan also represented Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group that collected signatures to get the recall on the ballot. Boettcher, a Republican, was involved in that group.
The Arizona Supreme Court will decide whether the Nov. 8 recall election for Senate President Russell Pearce will go forward. The high court on Wednesday agreed to consider the appeal in the case challenging the recall signatures.
Both sides had requested the hearing in hopes of speeding up the process instead of allowing the Arizona Court of Appeals to consider it first. Time is of the essence. A decision needs to be made by Sept. 23, when the state has to begin printing ballots.
The Supreme Court said that it will not hear oral arguments and that the justices will make a decision behind closed doors on Sept. 13. They will base their decision on written arguments.
An Arizona judge ruled Friday that a special election to recall state Senate President Russell Pearce, the primary sponsor behind a controversial anti-illegal immigration law that a federal court struck down in April, can be held November 8 as planned.
In an 11-page ruling, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Hugh E. Hegyi rejected nearly all of the arguments alleging problems with the recall petition.
The suit was filed by Franklin Bruce Ross, who backs Pearce and who alleged problems in the way the recall petitions were filled out. The suit cited as an example the language in the oath sworn by the circulators of the recall petitions did not state that the signatures collected were “genuine” or the “functional equivalent.”
But Hegyi concluded that the legislation concerning recall elections does not mandate that the oath contain the word “genuine.” “It merely requires ‘an’ oath that the Petition signatures are genuine, but does not prescribe a specific oath that will accomplish that objective,” the judge wrote. In this case, the requirements of the law — which he described as constitutional — have been met, he said.
The petitions have been certified, and the recall election date has been set but it remains unclear who will run against State Senator Russell Pearce in his Mesa district in November. Political analysts say the fact that no one has come forward suggests a lack of planning on the part of those behind the recall.
“It’s a little alarming that we’re this far down the process and we have yet to have a candidate that’s running,” said political analyst Marcus Dell’Artino of First Strategic. Those organizers of the “Citizens for a Better Arizona” group say they expect a candidate will come forward in the coming week.
It’s official: Senate President Russell Pearce is the first sitting elected legislator who will face a recall election in Arizona history. The Secretary of State today confirmed that the group seeking Pearce’s recall has submitted more than enough signatures for the special election to take place.
The fast pace of the work done by state and county election officials means the special election will take place this November — unless someone successfully challenges the signatures in court. Gov. Jan Brewer has 15 days from today to issue an order calling for a special election, which must occur at the next scheduled election date that is more than 90 days away, meaning Pearce will go before voters in November.
Pearce’s critics now face the daunting task of finding and persuading a credible candidate to go against the Senate’s most powerful politician in one of Arizona’s most conservative enclaves.
Arizona: County validates more than enough signatures for AZ Senate President Pearce recall election | Arizona Capitol Times
Elections officials in Maricopa County have so far verified as valid more than 8,000 signatures submitted by a group seeking to recall Senate President Russell Pearce.
This means it’s almost certain that a special election will take place – most likely this November – since the recall group, Citizens for a Better Arizona, only needs 7,756 valid signatures.
Karen Osborne, director of elections for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, said her office has so far gone through about 13,600 signatures and validated 8,239 of them as of today.
Arizona: Group Determined to Get More Signatures to Arizona Senate President Recall Pearce | myFoxPhoenix.com
Tuesday marks the deadline for one group looking to force a recall election of state Sen. President Russell Pearce. The group needs thousands of valid signatures from Mesa residents in order to move the recall effort forward.
Organizers with the Citizens for a Better Arizona believe they not only have enough signatures, they’re going for a kind of end zone spike symbolic victory as well.
Arizona’s elections director said she inadvertently gave an incorrect timetable to the organizers of a drive to recall controversial Senate President Russell Pearce, forcing a change in strategy in the historic recall effort. Elections Director Amy Bjelland said she initially told recall organizer Randy Parraz that if he filed his signatures by May 25, there…