Category Archives: Primaries

The Arizona primary by the numbers

Ballot-boxThe media villagers  have been telling us for over a year now that Americans are angry, that there is a populist uprising against the establishment (Republicans in Arizona), and that they want to throw incumbents out of office. Revolution!

Since many races are decided in the primary, you would expect to see this populist uprising in the primary.

So let’s look at the numbers from the Arizona Secretary of State’s office (unofficial results 8/30/16) :

Registered Voters: 3,400,611

Ballots Cast: 822,400

Voter Turnout: 24% (only three counties exceeded 30%)

Voter turnout in 2014 was 27.02%, and in 2012 it was 28.09%. 2016 may be lower still.

There are several thousand ballots yet to be processed statewide, so the voter turnout number will go up slightly, but still —  almost three-fourths of registered voters in Arizona could not be bothered to get off their rear-end and to take five minutes to fill out a primary ballot.

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FBI says foreign hackers are trying to gain access to election systems

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 1.11.32 PMOn this primary election day in Arizona, there are some disturbing reports about Arizona’s election data base being vulnerable to foreign hackers.

There is also this recently released analysis from the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, ICIT Analysis: Hacking Elections is Easy! Part One: Tactics, Techniques and Procedures (link to .pdf).

Michael Isikoff reports for Yahoo News, FBI says foreign hackers penetrated state election systems:

The FBI has uncovered evidence that foreign hackers penetrated two state election databases in recent weeks, prompting the bureau to warn election officials across the country to take new steps to enhance the security of their computer systems, according to federal and state law enforcement officials.

The FBI warning, contained in a “flash” alert (.pdf) from the FBI’s Cyber Division, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News, comes amid heightened concerns among U.S. intelligence officials about the possibility of cyberintrusions, potentially by Russian state-sponsored hackers, aimed at disrupting the November elections.

Those concerns prompted Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to convene a conference call with state election officials on Aug. 15, in which he offered his department’s help to make state voting systems more secure, including providing federal cybersecurity experts to scan for vulnerabilities, according to a “readout” of the call released by the department.

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Primary Election Day – VOTE!

voteToday is Primary Election Day.  If you have not already voted — and why haven’t you? — get yourself to the polls and VOTE! Many races will be decided in the primary, there is no waiting until November in these races.

VOTING HOURS
Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.

FIND YOUR POLLING PLACE
Check your local County Recorder’s web site. You can find your polling place location and check your voter registration status on the Recorder’s web site. You may vote only at your assigned polling place.

ID REQUIRED AT THE POLLS
Your driver’s license is enough if your address is current. Find a list of other acceptable ID from your County Recorder’s web site. Here is the list from the Pima County Recorder’s Office.

INDEPENDENT, NO-PARTY VOTERS
Independents may vote in this election by requesting one party ballot — Democrat, Green, or Republican — at the polling place.

MAIL-IN BALLOTS
If you still have an early mail-in ballot at home, you can drop it off at a polling place without waiting in line. MAKE CERTAIN THAT YOU SIGN AND DATE THE ENCLOSED BALLOT ENVELOPE before dropping it in the ballot box. DO NOT mail your ballot.

If you previously mailed your ballot, you can check online at your local County Recorder’s web site to see whether your early ballot has been processed.

CALL FOR VOTING INFORMATION
If you have any questions, call your local County Recorder’s election hotline.

Here in Pima County: Pima County Elections Department: 520-724-6830.

The spawn of Satan appears headed to Congress

I guess that fishing license finally paid off for her. Liz Cheney pays $220 on fishing license ticket.

The spawn of Satan, Dick Cheney’s daughter Liz Cheney, won an eight-way primary in Wyoming on Tuesday, a state with more cows than voters.

Unofficial results from the Wyoming Secretary of State shows Cheney leading the GOP primary with 35,668 votes. Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray said “I hope we beat the 2014 primary election total which was only 27 percent and that’s nothing that I’m particularly proud to beep, but I think we will beat that.” Voter Turnout Consistent With Past Years.

The AP reports, Liz Cheney Wins Wyoming Republican Primary for U.S. House Seat:

CheneyLiz Cheney has won Wyoming’s Republican primary for U.S. House.

Cheney beat seven challengers for a chance at the job her father, former Vice President Dick Cheney, first won 40 years ago.

Her campaign focused on national security and rolling back federal regulations affecting Wyoming’s beleaguered coal industry.

She was by far the best-funded candidate and brought in more than $1.5 million through July. Weeks before the primary, Cheney had almost 10 times more money than her next three opponents combined.

Her competitors included state Rep. Tim Stubson and state Sen. Leland Christensen.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis isn’t seeking a fifth term after serving four terms.

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The New Normal: Discrimination and Suppression of the Vote in Arizona

tried_to_vote_rectI was reading the complaint in Feldman, et al v. Reagan, the case challenging HB2023, which criminalizes the collection of ballots from early voters, as well as some of the voting procedures established in Maricopa county regarding the number of polling places. I won’t write much about HB2023 (pdf link) — suffice it to say that the legislative history and bill itself evinces a clear intent by the state legislature to make it more burdensome for some minority groups to vote, and not any concern for the wing-nut fantasy of voter fraud, which even the lawyer for the State in this case admitted there was zero evidence of in his arguments before the court in this case.

This suit is important as it clearly demonstrates the kind of harm to the constitutional rights of citizens that pre-clearance under the VRA’s Section V was intended to avoid. The Supreme Court held in 2013 that the pre-clearance formula in the VRA’s Section V was outdated because it based inclusion of jurisdictions on the status of voting rights in 1975, despite Congress renewing the formula in 2006 for 25 more years, and despite 50 years of great results and institutional expertise in the Justice Department protecting American voters, and despite there being clear termination criteria to exit any and all pre-clearance requirements.

This lawsuit also exemplifies just how necessary it is to reinstate pre-clearance in states like Arizona (read as: states controlled by the GOP…) to protect the rights of voters. I certainly expect that future Congresses will consider the passage of legislation like HB2023, and lawsuits like this one across the country as criteria for inclusion in a new pre-clearance formula: Arizona’s government has certainly demonstrated that we deserve pre-clearance status.

Perhaps it would be best if, instead of creating a new formula, pre-clearance were imposed on every state and voting jurisdiction in the United States. That way there can be no issue of treating states differently, no formula that must be updated, and there will be strong and positive pressure to adopt standardized nation-wide voting laws and best-practices. Such universal pre-clearance could be the only positive result of the Supreme Court’s foolish, and demonstrably short-sighted decision in Shelby County v. Holder. Justice Ginsberg’s dissent in that case is a master course in the history, purpose, and on-going need of the federal government to oversee state and local election to protect the right to vote in our nation.

Back to the case at hand: I was moved and shocked by the stories of some of the plaintiffs in the case. I knew there were problems in Maricopa County with a lack of polling places and long waits during this year’s Presidential Preference Elections (PPE, or the primaries), but I have to admit, I was surprised by some of the granular impact of that seemingly intentional debacle. I wanted to share some of those personal stories with readers, as specific stories are always more powerful than arid and abstract policy. I doubt anyone, Democrat or Republican, can justify what happened to some of these citizens.

Just for context, according to the complaint, Maricopa County operated 403 polling locations in the 2008 PPE, 211 in the 2008 PPE (in which there was only one party with an actively contested primary), and only 60 in the 2016 PPE, which was hotly contested in both parties. That’s only 15% the number of polling places compared to 2008 for one of the most hotly contested PPEs in recent memory .

After the fold are some of the plaintiffs’ personal experiences that resulted from that disastrous decision.

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Kansas is a cautionary tale for Arizona: Kansas voters begin to reject Tea Party radicals

MethLabsAfter giving Governor Sam Brownback a free hand to turn Kansas into a “meth lab of democracy” for far-right policy experiments for more than five disastrous years, Republican voters began turning against Tea Party radicals in Tuesday’s GOP primary election. The Brownbacklash Is Finally Here: Kansas Primary Voters Send Conservatives Packing.

Kansas Republicans delivered the harshest possible rebuke to Representative Tim Huelskamp, “a firebrand Tea Party conservative who lost in a primary landslide after spending most of his six years in Washington feuding with his own leaders. He was so difficult to work with and troublesome that he was kicked off the Agriculture Committee.” Voters in Kansas Send Message by Ousting Tea Party Firebrand Tim Huelskamp From House:

Farm groups joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and another deep-pocketed advocacy group to get behind Roger Marshall, a political novice who promised to work on behalf of Kansas rather than rabble rouse. Mr. Huelskamp had the backing of the Koch brothers political network as well as the conservative group Club for Growth, but it was not enough.

More importantly, Kansas Republicans Rejected Gov. Sam Brownback’s Conservatives in Primary:

Republican voters in Kansas rebelled against the policies of Gov. Sam Brownback on Tuesday, ousting his fellow conservatives in at least 11 state legislative primary races amid widespread angst about Kansas’s financial situation.

With some races still undetermined on Wednesday, but also leaning toward moderates, the primary was a tangible sign of the grumblings that have been going on under the surface in heavily Republican Kansas, as deep cuts to taxes, a centerpiece of the Brownback agenda, have left the state short on revenue and led to cuts to government services.

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