Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The reason why the RTA ballots could only be counted pursuant to a criminal investigation by the Office of Attorney General is simple: there is a serious legislative oversight in Arizona's elections code (A.R.S., Title 16).
Pursuant to statute, ballots and election materials may be reviewed during the election and counting process; the post-election hand count audit process; and in the rare event that an election challenge is filed in court. That's it.
Unlike many other states, Arizona does not provide for transparency in its elections by making election materials available for review through a public records request. But for this legislative oversight in Arizona's elections code, this litigation would have been entirely unnecessary.
The media, political parties, academics and researchers would have simply filed a public records request for the election materials to reconstruct the election and to verify the results. The results would have been available within several weeks — not several years later after the delay and expense of litigation.
A friend of mine has shared with me legislation he has drafted to fix this legislative oversight. He tells me that he has been in contact with Rep. Jonathan Paton (R-Dist. 30), who is the House Judiciary Committee chairman and who has oversight over election related bills. He was advised by an interested Republican Party official that Paton was not interested in meeting with him to discuss his draft legislation with him. There's constituent services for you.
Rather than consider constructive election reforms, Jonathan Paton instead is considering abbrogating the City of Tucson Charter by legislative override and dictating to the residents of the City of Tucson that they must elect their city council members in a nonpartisan election and by ward only — a proposal that the voters of the City of Tucson have rejected at the ballot box several times in the recent past.
The Republican-controlled "Maricopa County Legislature" is dictating to the City of Tucson how it must conduct its elections for purely partisan political motivations, and Jonathan Paton is leading the way in selling out the residents of Tucson to our bully neighbors to the North. Apparently Paton does not believe in home rule or the will of the electorate in a democratically conducted election. This tin horn instead wants to dictate to the residents of Tucson a choice that belongs to them alone. Let Paton know that you strongly oppose his heavy-handed and ill-considered legislation.