GOP candidate forum for Secretary of State was a joke

Politics Unplugged on channel 3 hosted a candidate forum for the Tea-Publican candidates for Secretary of State on Sunday. The video segments do not embed in WordPress, so here is the link. Politics Unplugged: June 15, 2014. The moderators threw softball set-ups to the candidates, and did not challenge their statements. It was a joke.

In the first segment, state Sen. Michele Reagan tried to take credit for her weak-tea bill dealing with “dark money” campaign organizations. What she fails to mention is that her bill did not get past the Senate Elections Committee, which she chairs.  She had such little influence with her GOP colleagues, she couldn’t get a vote. I wrote at the time:

“Sen. Reagan’s bill “to include the names of the three largest contributors” will only result, at best, in the disclosure of “Kochtopus” alphabet soup 501(c) organizations — Russian nesting dolls — set up to hide the true identity of the actual contributors, who are millionaire and billionaire plutocrats. It is not a serious attempt to regulate the dark money organizations corrupting our elections. It is pure posturing by her for her campaign to become Arizona’s next Secretary of State. We can do better than Michele Reagan, the co-author of the GOP Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305.

 That would be the GOP Voter Suppression Act that the Arizona legislature repealed earlier this year because they were terrified of the voters turning out this fall for a “citizens veto” of their handiwork dirty work.

Towards the end of the first segment, the moderator asked a simple yes or no question: “should dark money be outlawed?” Both state Rep. Justin Pearce and silver-spoon rich kid Wil Cardon said they could not answer a simple yes or no because it is a complex question. Sen. Reagan did her song and dance about her bill that would accomplish nothing.

Former Attorney General Terry posted on his Facebook page his answer to this question.

Screenshot from 2014-06-18 12:26:22

But wait, there’s more!

In the second segment the candidates discuss Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration, Prop. 200 (2004) and the litigation pending before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Kobach v. U.S. Election Assistance Commission. The candidates state as a matter-of-fact that the “conflict” between the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and Arizona law requires a “dual election system” in Arizona, at least for this year. Bullshit!

The only authority for this is a self-serving A.G. Opinion from Tom “banned for life by the SEC” Horne. There is nothing in Arizona statutory law which permits or authorizes segregating voters into two classes of voters based upon the voter registration form they used to register to vote, and denying voters their franchise to vote for all races on the ballot if they used the federal form. I previously explained this “bifurcated” voting system in two posts, Secretary of State race: Goddard v. GOP voter suppression and Terry Goddard on his Secretary of State race.

Sen. Reagan laughed and dismissed the claim that voter ID is “voter suppression” — it’s “absurd.” The other candidates agreed. The courts do not agree. State courts have recently held voter ID an unconstitutional infringement on the fundamental right to vote. Voter ID ‘unconstitutional’ in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Sen. Reagan harped on the ballot collection activities of Latino voter groups that she tried to outlaw with HB 2305. The other candidates agreed. Yet no one has ever been prosecuted for “voter fraud” that she alleges exists. Rep. Pierce wants to “scrub” the early voting lists, also a provision of HB 2305.

The Arizona Republic reports today that the co-author of the GOP Voter Suppression Act, Sen. Michele Reagan, has been endorsed by the GOP’s top operative for voter suppression, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is still a lawyer with theImmigration Law Reform Institute, the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. Kobach is the co-author of Arizona’s anti-immigrant Prop. 200 (2004) and SB 1070 (2010). Sec’y of State candidate gets Kobach backing:

Michele Reagan and Kris Kobach have more common ground than election security. They’re simpatico on the issue of immigration reform, too.

Reagan picked up the endorsement of the Kansas secretary of state this week in her bid for this state’s secretary post. But their agreement goes beyond election issues and extends to immigration.

“I voted for SB1070,” Reagan said when asked if she supported the Kansas secretary of state’s position on immigration.

Kobach worked closely with then-state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, to craft Senate Bill 1070, which was lauded as the nation’s toughest anti-immigration measure and which touched off waves of protest and negative blowback for Arizona. Most of its provisions have been ruled illegal.

Reagan, one of three candidates seeking the GOP nomination for Secretary of State, said she opposes amnesty, as does Kobach.

* * *

In 2013, she authored two bills that became lightning rods within the Latino community. One bill would have allowed elections officials to remove people from the permanent early-voting list if they had not used their mail-in ballot in recent elections. The other measure would have banned bulk collection of ballots.

Reagan said the resulting protests from Latino groups and other election-reform advocates was misplaced.

“They needed a moving target, they needed it to energize their base,” she said. The bills passed, but were referred to the ballot by a broad coalition of community and Latino groups. In response, the Legislature repealed the bills this year, avoiding a standoff at the ballot box.

Reagan said it was appropriate to hold off on the changes, which she still backs. And that, she said, is what helped land the Kobach endorsement.

Arizonans who suffer from this attitude of “meh, I am just not that into this year’s election” had better wake the fuck up! Michele Reagan is Jan Brewer on steroids. Do you really want her one heartbeat away from succession to the governorship? Latino voters especially should be organizing and mobilizing around the face of voter suppression in Arizona to defeat Reagan and to elect Democrats governor, secretary of state, attorney general, and superintendent of public instruction.

If you fail to act, it may be too late.