The face of voter suppression in Arizona

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Reagan_mugSenator Michele Reagan (R-Scottsdale) wants to be Arizona's next Secretary of State. Her role models are Katherine Harris (R-Florida) (2000), Ken Blackwell (R-Ohio) (2004), and Scott Gessler (R-Colorado) (2012), Republican Secretaries of State with notorious records for voter suppression.

Sen. Reagan is the sponsor of the Voter Suppression Act, HB 2305, and she is damned proud of it. Last Friday, The Arizona Republic published a "My Turn" guest opinion by Sen. Reagan that can be boiled down to her shouting "voter fraud!" as the reason for her Voter Suppression Act. Reagan:
3 oft-forgotten election-bill facts
.

This despite the fact that our current Secretary of State, Ken "Birther" Bennett, testified to a U.S. Senate panel in December last year that Arizona prosecuted a whopping fifteen cases of voter fraud in the last eighteen months. And none of these were cases of non-citizens voting, but rather "snowbirds" who voted in Arizona and in another state. 2.3 million ballots were cast in the 2012 election in Arizona. Ken Bennett's passion for voter fraud turns up fifteen cases.

A citizens referendum (or "citizens veto" in other states) has been filed by the Protect Your Right to Vote Committee to block Sen. Reagan's Voter Suppression Act. The Libertarian Party, the Green Party, the Democratic Party, the non-partisan League of Women Voters, organized labor, and a wide array of Latino and voting rights organizations are in the process of collecting enough signatures to be filed by September 12.

On Monday, Sen. Reagan doubled-down by filing her own committee to defend her Voter Suppression Act. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Backers of elections bill create committee to head off challenge:

Supporters of a controversial elections
bill formed a campaign committee to combat a referendum drive aimed at
putting it on the 2014 ballot.

Protect Our Secret Ballot was filed with the Secretary of State’s
Office on Monday to defend HB2305. Sen. Michele Reagan, who sponsored
several bills that were later included in the omnibus elections, is the
group’s chair.

Funny thing . . . HB 2305 does not affect laws regarding secret ballots. "But Reagan said she didn’t think the name was misleading." This committee is recycling the "Save Our Secret Ballot" committee from 2010 which was designed to mislead voters about union organizing votes. Misleading the voters is what these people specialize in.

Reagan said the committee
may launch legal challenges against the referendum effort, campaign in
favor of HB2305 if it gets onto the ballot or undertake other activities
to defend the recently passed law. Reagan said the group already has
funding lined up.

“We’re prepared to do what we think needs to be done,” Reagan said. “I’m leaving all options open.”

Sen. Reagan concedes that her "voter fraud!" conspiracy theories are not grounded in fact or reality, but rather her irrational fear that "it could happen":

[Sen. Reagan] wants to ensure that people don’t feel
pressured to turn over their ballots to people who may open them, tamper
with them or not turn them in depending on which candidates they voted
for. She said she’s heard such allegations, but is unsure whether such
things have happened.

“I’m not saying that that happened. But I’m saying when you have a
system where you have no control on thousands of ballots, you’re leaving
yourself open to all kinds of shenanigans,” Reagan said.

Sen. Reagan's designs on becoming Arizona's next Secretary of State is no sure thing as she faces opposition in the GOP primary from Jack Harper and Steve Montenegro, equally poor choices in my opinion. Sen. Reagan is also opposed by the Tea Party "RINO hunters" who oppose her because of her one vote in favor of Gov. Jan Brewer's Medicaid (AHCCCS) restoration/expansion plan. Medicaid
wounds are still raw in GOP
. She was "for it before she was against it."

7 responses to “The face of voter suppression in Arizona

  1. We collected signatures at PDA’s Prosperity Not Austerity Rally at Raul’s today. No one refused to sign. Several people asked where they could pick up forms to circulate. We sent them to the Pima Dems HQ.

    Yes, all county recorders originally proposed the PEVL part of HB2305, but F. Ann Rodriguez (Pima) has since rescinded her support.

    The background checks for petition circulators, the notarizing, and the tri-level collating of petitions for citizens initiatives are all transparent maneuvers by the Arizona Legislature to stop citizens initiatives by making them more costly and overly complicated. This issue is just as important as the PEVL problems, in my opinion.

  2. movingazforward

    This has nothing to do with Randy Parraz or the Arizona Democratic Party (except for the fact that some sore losers in the Legislature are unhappy with Arizona voter’s recall of Russell Pearce). Many diverse groups are coming together to protest the bill’s dozens of onerous provisions that will make it more difficult for Arizona citizens to vote, recall an elected official, and exercise their constitutional right to petition their state government.

    To cite just two examples from HB2305, the following are related to citizens and groups filing initiatives and/or referendum petitions:

    “Any political committee may submit to the Secretary of State forty-five days before the deadline for filing its petition a list of all petition circulators who circulated that petition and a copy of a a criminal records check verified through source documents performed on each petition circulator by an entity licensed to do so under Title 32, Chapter 24 or similarly licensed in another state.”

    So, it’s not enough that eligible, registered voters are signing a petition that has been legally certified by the state. We need background checks on the circulators! (Maybe that’s where Parraz will be funneling the money-his secret background check company).

    “The political committee that files the petitions shall organize the signature sheets and group them by the county of residence of the majority of the persons signing that signature sheet, by circulator on that signature sheet and by the notary public who notarized the circulator’s signature on that sheet. The Secretary of State may return as unfiled any signature sheets that are not so organized and grouped.”

    I will be gathering signatures from voters in both Coconino and Maricopa Counties. Assuming I will have petitions notarized by the same notary, how shall my sheets be grouped?

  3. HB 2305 came about from the combined country recorders from all of Arizona’s counties, all 15 of them, in response to the clogging that occurred during the last election.

    The Democratic Party has always gone out into the community to collect ballots, but it wasn’t until Randy Parraz did so that such a backlog of ballots occurred at the Maricopa County Recorders Office in November of 2012. In other words, the Dems protest of HB 2305 is in response to losing organizations from going into the community, but nary a mention is made about Parraz and his CBA (Citizens for a Better Arizona) in the video you posted.

    Here’s a video that shows how Parraz’s CBA exploited a collection of ballots in order to grandstand and show how powerful CBA has become:
    Randy Parraz on Collecting Ballots, Oct 19, 2013



    (starting at 03:50): “If we ask someone if they support our candidate, and if they say “No” we tell them “Thank you very much, have a nice day”. We do not collect ballots that are not for Paul Penzone (our candidate). If people want to vote for the other guy, they can but we do not collect those ballots. We collect those ballots that we are committed to turning in.”

    To be entirely fair, if organizations like CBA (who claim they are non-partisan and act for the good of everyone in the community) are going to go into the community to “collect ballots” they should collect ALL the ballots and not just those that prefer certain candidates. Additionally, they should not be influencing the vote. An unelected force such as CBA has been trying to sway and affect the result of an election (in addition to clogging up the tallying process whenever thousands of ballots are turned in a single fell swoop).

    I see nothing wrong with HB 2305 and the democrats protesting this new law are disingenuous to omit what Parraz/CBA have done. This omission is the same as lying.

    Mark B. Evans makes as equally as strong an argument NOT-TO-BE AGAINST.
    http://tucsoncitizen.com/mark-evans/archives/836

    Regarding the requirement of all candidates to turn in the same amount of signatures, I see nothing wrong with this, either, as now all candidates will be required to turn in the same amount of signatures. To those who claim this new requirement would be a burden on those political parties that have previously required just a few hundred signatures to get on the ballot, I would like to point out that Mike Stauffer, Independent candidate for Maricopa County Sheriff last year, had to gather close to 19,000 signatures to get on the ballot, so HB 2305 would level the playing field for candidates who are not a Dem or a Rep.

    Latino Democrats have made the statement that “HB 2305 is an attack on the Latino Community” but they have not been able to explain how this is. Look at Democratic Representative Martin Quezada say this very thing:
    http://www.azcentral.com/video/2492220874001

    It has been said that this new law is “Voter Suppression” but I just cannot see it. Labeling HB 2305 as such is political exploitation by using the Latino vote. There is nothing wrong with cleaning up the PEVL if a voter is not using it, nor is there anything wrong with preventing any group, the Democratic Party included, from “collecting ballots” because if a voter receives a ballot in the mail then the voter can use the mail to return the ballot.

    Democrats like Bill Roe and D.J. Quinlen are now using this new law as a wedge issue in order to bring democrats together, but they’ve got no one to blame for the passage of this law other than Randy Parraz, who so sloppily attempted to represent the Latino Community. Funny how you don’t hear any democrat even mention Parraz.
    (Oh, by the way, have you seen what someone discovered about how Parraz has been “funny” about his taxes? http://www.docdroid.net/2szp/press-release-on-citizens-for-a-better-arizona-2013-june-11.pdf.html)

    And now, Julie Erfle is heading up “Protect Your Right to Vote” which, after realizing her association with Parraz, is just another attempt to funnel money from the pockets of the community into the pockets of yet another 501.C(4).

    If you are indeed a “Progressive” then you will realize it’s all just more smoke and mirrors coming out of the Democratic Party.

  4. movingazforward

    Good news…Petitions are being picked up and widely circulated in Phoenix and Tucson. I will have a petition at the downtown Phoenix Public Market (721 N. Central) tonight from 6-8.

  5. You obviously are not a regular reader. I posted about the election “reform” bills extensively during the legislative session. Thnaks for playing.

  6. She’s from the same district as John Kavanagh. I guess only wingers can win elections there.

  7. Perfect! An ALEC minion for Secretary of State. What could go wrong?