I previously posted about the legal travails of our hapless Secretary of State, Michele Reagan. GOP Culture of Corruption: Secretary of State Michele Reagan must go.
This week we learned “Oops! … I did it again.” Reagan’s office skips election manual:
Secretary of State Michele Reagan did not compile a new election procedures manual for the 2016 cycle, perhaps the first time in decades, if not longer, that the office did not release the biennial publication that instructs county and local officials on the conduct of elections.
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State law requires the secretary of state to submit the manual for review to the attorney general and governor “not fewer than ninety days before each election,” a deadline that has already passed for the 2016 primary election. The manual must be issued no less than 30 days before each election, which some county election officials say is no longer feasible.
Without a new manual, county election officials are now using the 2014 version.
Several county election officials say they can’t ever recall a two-year election cycle in which the Secretary of State’s Office hasn’t issued a new manual. Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said she doesn’t believe the state has skipped a manual for an election cycle at least since she took office in 1989.
Ken Bennett, Reagan’s immediate predecessor as secretary of state, said … “We didn’t take it as an optional thing to do,” said Bennett, who held the post from 2009 to 2015.
Former Secretary of State Betsey Bayless, who served from 1997 to 2003, also said she viewed the manuals as a requirement for each election cycle during her tenure, though she said she couldn’t say definitively whether that was the case.
Just as she did with the “ballot harvesting” law that she got the legislature to pass for everyone else, Reagan argues that complying with state law is only optional for her, or doesn’t apply to her at all. Michele Reagan harvesting ballots — and hypocrisy.
As The Republic’s E.J. Montini sarcastically notes, Reagan ignoring election law again:
Am I missing something here? Are we ALL missing something?
I was under the impression – you, too, I’d guess – that when we elect someone to a statewide office like, say, Secretary of State, the person we elect like, say, Michele Reagan, would follow the laws she swears under oath to follow.
Apparently, this is too much to ask.
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[T]he law says: “Such rules shall be prescribed in an official instructions and procedures manual to be issued not later than thirty days prior to each election. Prior to its issuance, the manual shall be approved by the governor and the attorney general. The secretary of state shall submit the manual to the governor and the attorney general not fewer than ninety days before each election.”
Not this time.
Reagan’s office has decided it’s not necessary. To her, state law is more of a recommendation than a requirement.
At least of Reagan.
Election law attorney Tom Ryan believes that “shall” means what it says, it is a non-discretionary affirmative duty, and Michele Reagan has once again violated Arizona election law, just as she did in failing to timely mail publicity pamphlets for the May special election. Arizona AG says top elections official broke law.
The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports that Tom Ryan has filed another complaint with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office alleging that Michele Reagan has once again violated Arizona election law, and this time there is a remedy for her misfeasance in office: removal from office. Reagan foe says complaint over manuals could force her from office:
A complaint alleging that Secretary of State Michele Reagan broke the law when she decided not to issue a new election procedures manual for the 2016 cycle could lead to her removal from office, the attorney who filed it said.
[Tom Ryan] filed a complaint against Reagan with Attorney General Mark Brnovich on Thursday. Ryan alleged that state law mandates that the secretary of state update and reissue a procedures manual for every election cycle, which Reagan did not do.
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In his complaint, Ryan cited a statute stipulating that “a person charged with performance of any duty under any law relating to elections who knowingly refuses to perform such duty” is guilty of a class six felony. Arizona law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from holding elected office.
“If she has violated the law and it’s a class six felony, she should be removed from office. This is not a minor thing,” Ryan told the Arizona Capitol Times.
Ryan asked Brnovich in his letter to demand that Reagan immediately comply with the law and “take all steps necessary to enforce” the law against her.
Mia Garcia, a spokeswoman for Brnovich, said the Attorney General’s Office is reviewing Ryan’s letter and declined to comment further.
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State law specifies that the secretary of state issue no later than 30 days “prior to each election,” and should be submitted to the AG and governor no fewer than 90 days “before each election.” The manual must be compiled in consultation with county election officials.
Former secretaries of state say they never viewed the requirement as optional, and county election officials say they can’t recall an election cycle in which a new manual wasn’t issued.
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Ryan [alleges] in his complaint that statute says the manual “shall be” issued prior to each election.
County election officials submitted a slate of proposed changes to the secretary of state in mid-2015. The proposal included suggested changes to 13 of the manual’s 19 chapters.
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In May, Ryan filed a complaint with Brnovich alleging that Reagan broke the law by failing to mail about 200,000 publicity pamphlets in a timely fashion for the May 17 special election, a problem that the secretary of state blamed on a vendor error. Brnovich agreed with Ryan’s conclusion, but said there was no remedy in the law.
At the time he filed the May complaint, Ryan said Reagan should either fire her elections director or face impeachment by the Legislature. His call for impeachment has gotten no traction at the Capitol.
… Because the GOP culture of corruption in Arizona runs deep. IOKIYAR.