Editorials: Conservatives’ 17th Amendment repeal effort: Why their plan will backfire. | David Schleicher/Slate

ver the past year, an increasingly central plank of conservative and Tea Party rhetoric is that constitutional change is needed and that the 17th Amendment in particular, which gives state residents the power to elect senators directly, should be repealed. (Previously, senators were selected by the state legislatures). Hard-right figures across the country, from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) to Georgia Senate candidate Rep. Paul Broun to a steady drumbeat of state officials, have now called for repealing the amendment and giving the power to select senators back to the state legislatures. Radio host Mark Levin’s book The Liberty Amendments, calling for repeal, among other constitutional changes, was the best-selling book on constitutional law last year. Clearly this is an idea with legs. This boomlet of energy for repealing the 17th Amendment is not the first in recent memory. Back in 2010, repeal was similarly endorsed by a bevy of conservative bigwigs from Justice Antonin Scalia to Gov. Rick Perry to now-Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). Back then, support for repeal was mocked in Democratic campaign ads as kooky, but perhaps it’s time to concede that it is no longer a fringe idea. Given the ascendance of the right flank of the GOP, it’s worth taking the argument for repeal seriously.

Arizona: Elections still not over as suspicion builds | Salon.com

The election may have ended almost two weeks ago, but in Arizona, it goes on. Perhaps it’s fitting for a state with its own time zone, but as of last night, there remained over 100,000 uncounted votes in the state’s two largest counties, leaving election officials unable to officially certify the results of a number of the state’s high profile races, including the Senate race, several House contests, and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reelection bid. Friday was the deadline for counties to finish counting ballots, but the state blew past it yesterday when Maricopa, which contains Phoenix, and Pima County, which contains Tucson, said they needed more time. In most cases, the margins are the large enough by this point that candidates have declared victory or conceded defeat, even if the results aren’t official. And late Friday night, the Arizona Republic newspaper declared Democrat Ron Barber the winner in the highest profile race outstanding, the one to replace Democratic Rep. Gabby Giffords. That contest had been too close to call for over 10 days, with fewer than 1,000 votes separating Barber from Republican Martha McSally, but the remaining outstanding ballots come from heavily Democratic areas so the paper was able to project Barber’s victory.

Arizona: Richard Carmona Monitoring Results As Arizona Continues Counting Ballots | Huffington Post

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona conceded last week to Republican Rep. Jeff Flake, but as activists protest in Arizona over uncounted ballots, Carmona’s campaign said Monday it will consider its options if the voting tally tightens. “We’re watching it very closely, and we’re going to make sure every vote is counted,” Carmona campaign spokesman Andy Barr told TPM’s Sahil Kapur. Arizona has been under fire since last week, when a number of votes went uncounted due to issues at the polls. Voters reported showing up only to be told they were not registered or they had been issued absentee ballots, and were instead given provisional ballots that are now being counted by the state. (The Arizona Republic lays out the possible reasons for votes to go uncounted here.)

Arizona: Senate Candidate Jeff Flake Takes On The 17th Amendment | TPM

Jeff Flake, the Republican Arizona congressman who is running for U.S. Senate, would prefer if the voters of his state didn’t have the chance to cast a ballot for him this year. Instead, he said at a recent campaign stop, he wishes the Arizona legislature, which is dominated by a Republican super majority, would get to choose who represents the state in the Senate. Flake made the comments last week in response to a question at an event in Payson, Ariz. The local newspaper, the Payson Roundup, first noted the response on Friday. In doing so, Flake came out alongside hardcore Tea Party candidates who favor the repeal of the 17th Amendment, which was adopted in 1913 to let voters pick their senators. But even some Tea Party candidates have said repealing the amendment would be a step too far for them.