As some may be aware, Jan Brewer, our GOP Secretary of State, has done her best to block the hand count audits required by the voter protection law passed nearly unanimously this past session. The law requires audits of a limited number of races to be performed on the election’s paper trail to ensure the integrity of our elections.
Brewer has put pressure on County Boards around the state not to follow the law, using the excuse that the law has not yet been pre-cleared by the Justice Department, despite the dilatoriness of her own office in making the Section 5 application for pre-clearance (the application was not perfected until August 7th), which prevented the Justice Department from completing the review in time for the primary. Nor has the Election Assistance Commission’s official opinion (PDF) that Prop 200 violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) stopped Brewer from rushing ahead with implementation, claiming that the DOJ’s pre-clearance supports her actions, despite the fact that pre-clearance only means that the law does not conflict the Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, it does not prove complaince with NVRA or any other federal election laws.
Obviously, Brewer had no problem attempting to apply Prop 200 election law changes without Justice Department pre-clearance earlier this year, and forcing its use in this primary election despite these serious doubts about its legality under NVRA. The onerous and draconian limitations on voter rights in that law were rushed into effect by Brewer and have resulted in 5% fewer voters casting votes than in the primaries of 2002 and 2004; that’s not lower turnout, that’s 5% or more of voters who were denied the right to vote by Prop 200 and Jan Brewer. Our Secretary of State has abused her office to disenfranchise Arizona’s voters.
Maricopa County forged ahead with informal counts despite heavy pressure from Brewer, but Pima County’s Board folded like a cheap suit and voted 4-1 not to proceed with informal audits.
Here is an email that is going out to Pima Precinct Committeemen on the topic:
We were told by the Pima Supervisors on Monday that they could not allow hand-count audits of the primary election because Jan Brewer had forbidden it and their lawyers told them they could not now go forward in violation of Jan Brewer’s ban. We urged them to go ahead with informal hand-count audits of the primary as an exercise to confirm the validity of the machine counts and as a training exercise to learn how to make the hand-counts in November run more smoothly. Despite our pleas they still voted 4-1 not to do hand-counts. Only Richard Elias voted no. After the meeting, two Supervisors told us they were afraid of the chaos that might ensue if the hand-counts differed from the machine counts.
We have now learned that Maricopa County has been doing the informal hand-count audits that we urged the Pima Supervisors to authorize, putting the lie to their claim that Jan Brewer wouldn’t let them do such hand-count audits. We want to alert as many people as possible to this situation and encourage everyone to contact both the news media and the Board of Supervisors to try to force a change to this duplicitous policy.
Time is very important. Once the election is certified, we can still do hand-count audits as a training exercise but it will be too late to affect the outcome of any problematic races. Please contact everyone you can and urge them to also send letters to the editor and contact their public officials.
If you are available next week to participate in a
hand-count audit (if the Board of Supervisors changes their policy — not
likely before Monday), please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I urge everyone to get involved urgently and demonstrate that we will not be denied the integrity of our elections, whatever Ms. Brewer may want.