Update to Election Denier Trump Thugs Force County Election Officials To Quit, Plotting Election Disruption.

According to the Tucson Sentinel, anti-vaxxer Covid-denier Republicans were having trouble recruiting election workers willing to comply with Pima County’s vaccination requirement for election workers, so Pima County actually accommdated these anti-vaxxer Covid-deniers. Pima County lifts COVID shot policy for temp election aides as GOP ranks need filling:

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Unable to find enough local Republicans to staff election boards for the August primary, Pima County has lifted a requirement that temporary election workers be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 on Tuesday to end the policy for the workers. Election boards are supposed to have an equal number of aides from both major political parties, but the county is short on the number of registered Republicans needed to count early ballots, mark new ballots based on voter intent and tabulate ballots from the voting centers.

Each of those boards needs an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, and enough Democrats are already in place, said County Election Director Constance Hargrove.

Numbers reported to Hargrove from two weeks ago, the most recent available, tallied 27 Democratic election aides sitting on boards, but the Elections Department has only managed to scrape together 17 Republicans and five independents. Another 10 Republicans will be required to even out the “partisan composition.”

All of those 49 workers already signed up are vaccinated against COVID. [So not all anti-vaxxer Covid-deniers.] As many as eight more aides to serve on boards have been hired since those numbers were reported a couple weeks ago, but their party registrations weren’t immediately available, Hargrove told the Tucson Sentinel.

The county will hire about 1,300 temporary workers to staff voting centers on Election Day, with about 65 aides needed, including those serving on boards. The county only tracks party registration for those who serve on boards because they’re responsible for tabulating ballots. Other temporary staffers work at “various times throughout the year” to prepare for elections.

Supervisor Rex Scott asked the board to change the vaccine requirements for all temporary election workers to help with hiring leading up to primary. He put the item on the agenda after talking with officials from the Elections Department and County Recorder’s Office, he said at the meeting.

[S]upervisor Steve Christy, the lone Republican on the board, worried that newer hires would be exempt from the COVID vaccine while aides previously employed by the county wouldn’t be.

The County Election Department and Recorder’s Office, however, need aides with experience and “institutional knowledge” to help secure and ready election equipment and supplies in the last weeks leading up to the primaries, Scott said.

The vaccine requirement kept the county from hiring potential aides, he said, and it made it difficult to hire an equal number of election aides from both parties. [Only Republicans.]

Aides work in the weeks leading up to elections by readying supplies, testing machines and equipment and counting early ballots. They’re also temporary or “intermittent” employees who only work from several days up to several weeks.

County elections staff work overtime and weekends getting ready for the primaries, and those aides are key,  Hargrove said.

“We want to be certain to have adequate staffing for this year’s election,” Hargrove said in a public statement. “We especially need to make sure there will be an equitable partisan composition of election boards.”

[T]he original mandate from Aug. 30 required proof of COVID vaccination from anybody seeking a promotion by the county, new hires and employees who have jobs in addition to their county employment before it was extended in October. The policy included “intermittent” or temporary employees such as lifeguards.

About 3,000 “election workers” are “in the county’s system,” according the county documents, but they won’t work until the day of elections. Their vaccination status is unknown, but a minimum of 1,300 will be needed at the county’s 129 vote centers during the primaries and general elections.

It turns out that the Pima County Republican Party spins this reporting quite differently in their July 11, 2021 newsletter. According to them, they are standing up for the “Freedumb!” of anti-vaxxer Covid-deniers.

Excerpts:

Hard at Work
On March 31, Pima County Republican Party sent Mary Martinson (Interim Director of Elections) an email with a list of approximately 120 election-trained Republicans ready to work at the polls. Sometime in June, Pima County Recorder/Elections Office started calling our vetted Poll Workers asking them their vaccination status. The Human Resources Department of Pima County had determined that to be a Poll Worker/Elections Aide—those who work and get paid by Pima County during early voting—they had to have the COVID vaccination. The Pima County Republican Party did not stand by, and we contacted our legal team and were, able on June 28, to file a TRO which would prohibit the county from requiring a vaccination for an intermittent employee. Interestingly, on July 1, the Board of Supervisors put an item on the agenda to remove the vaccine mandate which passed by a 3-2 vote on July 5. Interesting how a little pressure changes hearts and minds.

If you are volunteering to be an election worker in Pima County for any political party, you should be aware that these nihilistic anti-vaxxer Covid-denier Republicans do not care that they are putting everyone at risk for the most recent variant of Covid-19, BA.5, which can infect persons who are double vaccinated and boosted, and is currently surging. The worst virus variant just arrived. The pandemic is not over.:

[T]he coronavirus is speeding up once again, mutating, evading immunity and still on the march. The arrival of subvariant BA.5 should be a reminder that the finish line in this race is nowhere to be seen.

What’s BA.5?

This is the latest subvariant of omicron, which stormed the planet late last year and caused a huge wave of infection. As of now, BA.5 and a closely related variant, BA.4, account for about 70 percent of all infections in the United States, according to estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in part on modeling. These two newcomers are easing out an earlier variant, BA.2.

The obscure names should not hide the punch of BA.5. Eric Topol, professor of molecular medicine at Scripps Research, says that BA.5 “is the worst version of the virus that we’ve seen.” He adds, “It takes immune escape, already extensive, to the next level, and, as a function of that, enhanced transmissibility,” well beyond earlier versions of omicron. There has not been a marked increase in hospitalizations and deaths, he reports, because there is so much immunity built up from the winter omicron wave. But there are aspects of this new variant very much worth keeping an eye on as the United States remains stuck at an uncomfortably high plateau of pandemic misery. And the new variants are driving a case surge in Europe.

At the core of the BA.5 difference is its biology. Evolution has given it more fitness, a term that incorporates its ability to transmit, grow and evade immunity; the variant shows “marked difference from all prior variants,” reports Dr. Topol. One way it does so is by evading the body’s immune system, and BA.4 and BA.5 together are “the most immune-evasive variants” seen in multiple studies to date.

There appears to be a Covid surge building in Arizona.

See, CDC Guidance on COVID-19 Vaccine Boosters. UPDATE: Biden administration officials are developing a plan to allow all adults to receive a second coronavirus booster shot, pending federal agency sign-offs, as the White House and health experts seek to blunt a virus surge that has sent hospitalizations to their highest levels since March 3, the Washington Post reports.

The Omicron variant specific vaccines are currenty being developed and tested, but will not be available until later this fall (possibly October). Omicron-specific Covid vaccines could finally be here this fall—here’s what you need to know.

These anti-vaxxer Covid-denier Republicans will not even get the first two rounds of the vaccine, let alone booster shots. These nihilists are willing to put everyone at risk, and they are clearly proud of it. “Owning the libs.”

More spin frm the Pima County Republican Party on the Tucson Sentinel reporting:

Still Not Enough Republicans to Work the Polls
On July 5, the Pima County Republican Party followed up with Steve Mares at Pima County to remind him of the poll worker names and emails we had provided to the county on March 31, 2022. We reminded him that many Pima County Republicans were trained and ready to go to work at the polls. Pima County must realize that not only has the Pima County Republican Party vetted Republicans to work at the polls, but we also trained them and sent their names and emails to the county four months before the early ballot dropped! Not only was the Republican Party prepared for the elections, but we also held the County to a new set of standards by which the Republican Party led the way.

That is, dropping the Covid vaccine requirement for anti-vaxxer Covid-denier Republicans.

This next part of the newsletter is what really caught my attention, and pertains to my earlier post.

The TRIDENT team
Trident—’power and authority’—teams are ready to be Poll Observers throughout Pima County. We have over seven hundred (700) people in our newly adopted scheduling package who will be scheduling their shifts this week to observe the voting process throughout Pima County during this early voting and through to Election Day. Our poll observers have been trained in a classroom setting and will have received the legal briefing from the Republican National Committee. The Pima County Republican Party will have maximum coverage by poll observers in the 2022 Primary Election! Our Trident Teams will be our eyes on the process to ensure free and fair elections in Pima County. We are more prepared than ever to ensure that you can trust that your ballot has been cast—and, cast properly.

This is the first eelction since the early 1980’s when Republican voter suppression led to a consent decree against the RNC which prohibited Republicans from engaging in what they euphemestically called “election protection.” That consent decree was lifted a few years ago, but the Coronavirus pandemic disrupted their efforts in 2020.

Now the Trump Big Lie election deniers are out in force in 2022 to harass and intimidate not just voters, but also poll workers and election workers. They are looking to disrupt the election.

About this RNC poll observer training, from my earlier post:

Jen Fifield adds, GOP poll watcher training casts unfounded suspicion on Arizona elections:

The Republican National Committee is telling potential Arizona polling place observers that there are “festering problems” in how elections are run, such as security issues with vote-counting machines and problems with voter rolls, as it trains them for the state’s upcoming primary election.

The RNC training delivers the message that the “2020 election had serious problems,” worrying experienced former election officials and lawyers who have trained observers in the past and who say the point of training should be simply to encourage observers to watch for violations of law at the polls without disturbing the peace.

Republican Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, who as an attorney led Republican observer training in the 2000s, said the messaging concerns him because his focus was always on providing a straightforward picture of what was legal and what was not at the polls.

“It’s not about kind of ginning people up, which is what that sounds like,” Gates said. “That’s the narrative, though.”

Votebeat watched an RNC Zoom training at the invitation of an attendee, and separately received information about an in-person training from an attendee, after an RNC spokesperson said that reporters were not allowed to attend.

Asked about the intention of the messaging, Ben Petersen, the RNC Arizona communications director, said that the committee’s staff and volunteer training “emphasizes the need to comply with federal and state laws protecting voting rights.”

“Any individual participating in our election integrity program who does not follow the law will be promptly dismissed,” Petersen said. [Yeah, sure they will.]

The idea that Republicans who don’t believe the 2020 election was fair — a majority in the country, according to a poll late last year — could try to disrupt in-person voting during the Aug. 2 primary is causing election officials across the state and around the country to make changes to protect from internal threats. During California’s primary earlier this month, election officials in Shasta County said observers tried to intimidate them during the vote count.

As of 2021, Maricopa County began requiring polling place observers to fill out forms detailing any problems before leaving the polls, a way to avoid unsupported allegations surfacing after the fact. Yavapai County is also doing that, as well as restricting where observers can go within polling places and ensuring that each location has experienced and bipartisan staff prepared to handle any problems.

* * *

Training tells attendees 2020 election ‘uncovered festering problems’

The Republican National Committee has so far been hosting the Arizona election integrity trainings for observers, with a national schedule on www.gopvictory.com, across Maricopa County and on Zoom since at least April.

For the most part, the trainings are straightforward: They discuss the party’s goals (to increase Republican participation as poll workers and watchers and ensure the upcoming elections are fair) and what the role of an observer is (to ensure election laws are followed at polling places).

One section of the training, in particular, reminds attendees a list of don’ts: don’t be disrespectful, don’t be demanding, don’t interfere or disrupt voting. Another section talks about potential problems to watch for that are relatively straightforward under Arizona law, such as late openings of polling places and long lines.

But in the Zoom training Sanchez also said the 2020 election had “serious problems” even though experts and election officials have repeatedly said it was actually one of the smoothest modern elections in history.

Sanchez said laws were disregarded and many questions are still left unanswered, even though Arizona courts found otherwise.

He told attendees the election “uncovered festering problems,” and said that there are security issues with vote-counting machines. Multiple pre- and post-election audits, done by Maricopa County and contractors the county hired, found that machines counted votes accurately and were not connected to the internet.

DeRose, Gates, and Langhofer all said that the focus of the trainings in the past was always on what was allowed under the law and what wasn’t.

Gates said he believes some of the statements in the RNC training are political, something he always tried to avoid.

“My slides would have said something like the right to vote is fundamental,” Gates said. “And we want to make sure every eligible vote is counted.”

Tammy Patrick, who helped both political parties in Maricopa County train observers for years when she was the county’s compliance officer, called the RNC’s messaging “deeply problematic” because it primes observers to come in believing there are massive problems with the system.

“If you are pre-positioning the observers that there is all this criminal activity they need to uncover, they are going to view what they are seeing from a completely skewed viewpoint,” she said.

Patrick said the intentions of these new poll observers worries her. “They think they are going to find the body,” she said.

If you see something, say something. Call the Election Protection Hotline: 866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).




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