I saw this graphic on Twitter last night, which is the apotheosis of dumbness:
— World For Bernie (@WorldForBernie) March 23, 2016
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:
— Kansans For Bernie (@WichitaBern) March 23, 2016
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/