Did voter suppression happen yesterday? Yes. Was it a conspiracy? Probably not.

I saw this graphic on Twitter last night, which is the apotheosis of dumbness:

All the dumbness. All of it

The DNC (and for that matter the RNC, and for that further matter any and all of the individual Presidential campaigns currently still running in the primary) has literally nothing to do with any of litany of charges made in that graphic.

Elections in Arizona are overseen by the Secretary of State, one Michele Reagan, a Republican. They are executed by the counties. The largest county in Arizona is Maricopa, whose County Recorder is one Helen Purcell, also a Republican. I promise you that neither of these officials are taking any cues from the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton.

Taking the charges on one by one:

1. It is true that Maricopa County Elections did make the decision to set up only 60 polling places in the entire county, down from more than 200 in 2012, when only the Republican nomination was contested, and over 400 in 2008. That led to inexcusably long lines where people waited several hours to vote, in an election where there was heightened interest in both the Republican and Democratic side. I was told a few days ago that Maricopa Elections expected that 90% of the votes would be cast by mail which, if true, is a more plausible explanation for the curious choice to have so few polling places than an elaborate conspiracy theory involving Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the DNC. Probably just a reflection of how “less government”, as practiced by its GOP adherents, leads to shitty governance.

2. It is true that some Democrats (and likely voters from other parties) learned on Presidential Preference Election day, to their chagrin, that they had been wrongly registered as “independent” voters, despite taking what they believed to be the appropriate steps to register with the party. This happened in my own family, as Mark’s brother, a lifelong Dem, updated his driver’s license and voter registration but got a voter ID card that indicated he was an Other voter. Luckily, he caught it in time to correct it but others didn’t. The problem was such that the Arizona Democratic Party initiated an investigation into it, based on several complaints they got. So there appears to be a problem with some registrations erroneously being funneled into the “independent” column when that was not the will of those voters. Not really seeing how the DNC orchestrated this, though, considering how they aren’t in charge of voter registration in Arizona in any way.

3. It’s actually county elections employees who view the documentation and administer the provisional ballots so, no, I’m not really seeing the evil Wasserman Schultz/DNC hand in this.

4. Again, the Democratic Party, at the national or state level, does not control the ballots in Arizona, let alone how many are on hand. Learning how local elections actually work is an important step toward assigning the appropriate blame for clusterfucks such as that which occurred in Maricopa County yesterday.

5. Okay, now you’re just in fantasy land. Provide some evidence of this “flipping” that ties to Hillary Clinton and/or the DNC. Otherwise, STFU.

It is certainly justifiable to be outraged by long voting lines at too few polling places. But wildly casting aspersions at people who had nothing to do with what happened, no matter how much you dislike them and may have (definitely in the case of Wasserman Schultz) legitimate reasons for that, is not the way to get to the bottom of the problem.

Voter suppression happened yesterday, for sure. But it obviously came from the Maricopa County Elections Department, who clearly messed up. And, in their case, it’s probably better to assume it was borne of incompetence than malice.

UPDATE: Since commenter Liza has pulled the “not representative of all Sanders supporters!” canard on me about the tweet I embedded at the top of this post, allow me to display another one:

Over 200 retweets at this hour. This conspiracy garbage about Arizona, along with encouragement to throw the election in November, is all over the place now and that is why I’m rebutting it. If you think other things should be written about, start your own blog.

SECOND UPDATE: Tom Reade, an organizer for the Clinton campaign, reports that his cell phone number was made public and that he received about 200 harassing phone calls from irate Sanders supporters convinced that Hillary Clinton stole the election in AZ. Here’s one of them: https://www.facebook.com/treade/videos/10106058414500671/

28 responses to “Did voter suppression happen yesterday? Yes. Was it a conspiracy? Probably not.

  1. captain*arizona

    while hillary clinton supporters here were celebrating clintons victory and sanders voters still standing in line to vote I was walking those lines of voters in several places telling the voters to blame the county recorder and the legislature for cutting election funding and they should find out how their legislaturor vote on cutting election funding. that is because I am a democrat tactician not an out of touch elitist liberal party hack.

  2. Man, am I going to be glad when someone gets the nomination and we can all be friends again.

  3. captain*arizona

    This is what I mean by worthless democratic establishment elitists showing contempt for voters. Telling the voters how they should vote. Minority voters think they have to put up with this crap to get protection from evil republiscum! White voters don’t and that is why 70% of white voters vote republican in arizona. Clear out the careerists dead wood at the arizona democratic party leadership. What have they accomplished?

  4. I was hoping you wouldn’t do something like this Donna.

    You’ve been known to smear Sanders and his supporters. Yes, I said smear. There’s no other way to put it, when you link Bernie to JT Ready and Shawna Forde, that’s a smear.

    So you’re probably not the best messenger for the “nope, nothing wrong here” thing.

    I think we’ll go ahead and push for an investigation anyway if you don’t mind.

    Me thinks thou protests too much.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      I love this. Sanders people are circulating utterly unfounded and downright defamatory allegations against Hillary Clinton because he lost an Arizona election he was expected to lose and I’m the one “smearing”.

      Oh well. Have a good cry about it, Tom.

      • You should be screaming for an investigation Donna, because there’s a chance that Trump or Cruz will do/say something so crazy that even AZ can’t vote for them.

        And you should be screaming because I bet a lot of people who waited in those insanely long lines won’t show up for the general, and you want every single vote you can get for the downstream ticket. Lots of them were first time Dems! We need them!

        You’re so focused on getting HRC elected you’re missing the big picture.

        I’m not crying, I’m still giving money to Sanders, because I want him to dog HRC all the way to the convention and keep her from drifting into full GW Bush mode. Bernie’s playing the long game and so am I.

        And yeah, linking Sanders to the Minutemen and murders is a smear. Own it.

        • Donna Gratehouse

          There should be an investigation of what went wrong yesterday. And Sanders should stay in the race as long as he sees fit. And if you want to give him your money to do so that is also your prerogative.

          And I support HRC and I will defend her campaign from the conspiracy bullshit that is constantly being peddled by her opponents on both the right and the left. I will also point and laugh at the idiots doing it.

          “And yeah, linking Sanders to the Minutemen and murders is a smear. Own it.”

          Nope, because that’s not what I did. You are smearing me now and it is disgusting.

          • http://blogforarizona.net/that-time-bernie-sanders-voted-to-protect-the-minutemen/

            “Now, none of that alerting was actually happening because Kingston’s amendment was a response to a dumb conspiracy theory circulating among right wingers at the time. On that basis alone it’s a vote that should embarrass Sanders, but it’s worse than that. The Minutemen included actual terrible people like the late JT Ready and Shawna Forde, who planned and carried out the brutal murders of two innocent people in Arizona.”

            All this because Arpaio crashed, uninvited, on Mrs. Sander visit to protest tent city.

          • Donna Gratehouse

            Your willful misreading of that passage is in no way evidence of my “linking” Sanders to murderers.

            Again, you are engaging in a dishonest smear of me. Cease and desist or I will block you.

  5. And, it is not up to individuals to dictate how people cast ballots and criticize them for not doing it in the manner that you consider most effective. If people choose to vote on election day, that is their RIGHT.

    And, your own personal voting experience may not be relevant to the aggregate experience. If a large number of voters experienced voter suppression tactics, the again, it deserves an investigation.

  6. I just now received a new voter registration card that says I’m receiving this because I requested a change. However, I haven’t changed anything on my registration since 1999. So, I fully believe there is something going on here that deserves an investigation.

    And, yes, this article in supposedly replying to someone’s “tweet” seems to be trying to downplay the importance of voter suppression by taking a flippant attitude, “Well, it happened but there is no conspiracy.” So, should we just move on? This subject obviously requires a federal investigation and deserves the attention of real investigative reporters assuming there are any left in this country. Pretending to know something about a subject and writing about it does not help anyone. And using foul language is insulting and diminishes credibility.

    I grew up in a time and a place where people died for the right to vote. Maybe it would benefit some of you to learn history because, whether you are aware of it or not, history is being repeated.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      I really get the sense you didn’t get beyond the first paragraph of my post before you began typing tirades at me, Liza.

      • You’re wrong, dear, I read your article.

        • Donna Gratehouse

          You know, for someone who was hyperventilating over my tone just recently, you’re being awfully rude!

          Ah well. Tone cops, tone cops, whatcha gonna do?

          • I’m not hyperventilating and I haven’t been rude to you. Not liking your article, thinking that it is poorly written and based on a foolish premise (responding to one tweet that is not representative of all Sanders supporters) apparently means that something must be wrong with me. It can’t be that you wrote an article that seems to serve no purpose other than to take a dig at the Bernie supporters you don’t like. Look, it’s just a local blog and bad writers are everywhere. I’m not going to tell you to “STFU” as you tell others. Knock yourself out and have yourself a good cry when someone comes along and points out that maybe you’re just a gasbag. Thanks for the banter, I’m done.

          • Donna Gratehouse

            You may think the “not all Sanders supporters!” line buys you plausible deniability but the plain fact that some of his supporters are prolifically spreading conspiracy garbage (that tweet I posted already had over 100 retweets at the time I wrote the post) to smear Hillary Clinton and that they do this every time she wins a state remains.

            And though I may be a shitty writer and a gasbag, I’m certainly compelling enough to provoke you into a frothing fit of pearl-clutching in my comments section, Liza.

            Bless your heart.

          • Ha ha, I knew you’d be back for the last word. You may have it, but please don’t flatter yourself that I’m clutching pearls or frothing over anything YOU wrote.

  7. So, let me get this straight, the people commenting don’t have an issue with the lies in the tweet, but have an issue with the blogger. Way to face reality. I’m sure it’s much easier to point fingers at Hillary Clinton and the DNC than to admit Republicans are responsible for voter suppression. Do what Jim said – get on the PEVL, fill out your ballot, mail it in, done! You can even check out the status of you ballot online.

    • Yep, it’s Republican voter suppression, but the problems yesterday were too many and too onerous to not look a little deeper.

      At the very least the AZ Democratic party appears to be incompetent, we count on the local party’s to make sure the county is behaving, they should be the ones screaming the loudest for an investigation.

      Let’s take a look into what happened just so we can ease some folks minds and find out how to do better next time, how’s that?

  8. American Vendetta

    I find this completely amusing to see people here fighting with eachother over this issue in THIS state! I went to the polls yesterday and waited 20 minutes. When I got to check in a 19 year old kid took my ID, scanned it without a word, gave me the stare down and litteraaly threw my Democratic ballot at me. When I walked away I got a cute little sarcastic “have fun” remark from him. My point is that it is the republicans in this state that have contempt for voters here. Nobody else. The leaders make every effort to suppress turnout every year as it benefits them. There were a lot of pissed voters on both sides yesterday.

  9. Sue, I’m sure that the author of this poorly written article and all other Hillary supporters are more than pleased when voter suppression favors their candidate. Democracy really should mean something, whether or not your candidate is the beneficiary of voter suppression and media manipulation. But that is asking too much of some folks. If Hillary is elected, they will have plenty of time to regret their choices or they will continue to choose denial. Either way, it is democracy that we are losing, one election after another, one state after another.

  10. I came to this blog looking for an intelligent article and instead found this.

  11. I came to this blog looking for an intelligent article and instead found this. “STFU” – seriously? Learn to write with civility or do something else in your spare time.

  12. Why on earth does anyone vote in person? Get on the PEVL (Permanent Early Voting List), vote early, and work the phones on election day to get your neighbors out.

    • George Yolland

      A lot of people like the tradition of going to the polls. Not me personally, I voted 2 days after I got my ballot, about 3 weeks ago.

      But I can also remember taking my kids with me to the polls when they were little. They got their own voting booth and got to pick between George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. I got to vote for Bill Clinton over GHWB and Ross Perot.

      Some people just prefer going to the polls.

  13. STFU huh??? That’s sure a gracious statement coming from someone who’s candidate won.
    Not saying the disappointed (and yeah, somewhat paranoid — I went there. I said it.) was appropriate either — but you and other Clinton supporters might want to remember that you are going to want us on your side, come November. Think about that for a minute or two…
    Hmmmm…
    Didja do it?
    Now, imagine what snappy little 4 letter piece of advice that I would share with you — if I were not too polite to do so.

    • Donna Gratehouse

      If you’re going to withhold your vote in November and let Donald Trump or Ted Cruz become President because you don’t like the tone some Clinton supporters took, well then, congratulations, you have privilege!

      Personally, should Sanders manage to pull off a primary win, I intend to put aside the intense personal dislike I’ve grown to have for him and many of his supporters and do the right thing for the country. Because I’m an adult.

      • “Because I’m an adult”… are you sure, because a few posts ago you said this to me:

        “Oh well. Have a good cry about it, Tom.”

        Of course we’ll vote for the Dem nominee, it’s just that some of us find your posts to be more accusations about Bernie and his supporters and less about why HRC is the best candidate.