Maricopa County is having trouble administering an election. Again. This time county officials sent two early ballots to some voters who recently changed their registration. Our elections shouldn’t be this complicated. Tell Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell to modernize our elections. Click the image below to sign the petition
New Poll: McCain’s re-election prospects are rocky. U.S. Sen. John McCain has been bracing for a tough re-election battle and a new poll from a Democratic firm released Tuesday indicates the veteran Arizona Republican’s political predicament. More
PHOENIX – When it comes to telling the truth about Arizona’s virtually non-existent voter fraud one powerful Arizona Senator just can’t shoot straight. Sen. Don Shooter continues to distort and exaggerate a 2010 early vote project in his Yuma district to scare Republicans into supporting his bill to make volunteer ballot collections a crime.
Election officials, including then Secretary of State Ken Bennett, determined that there was no wrong-doing or broken laws surrounding the Yuma get-out-the-vote effort in 2010. Yet Shooter repeated the debunked story on Wednesday while testifying on behalf of a strike-all amendment to Senate Bill 1339 which would make it a felony for voluntary civic engagement organizations to turn in early ballots for voters who are unable to drop them off or mail them on time – often in heavily Latino neighborhoods. The canvasses are effective because many voters hold onto their ballots while trying to make their decisions, and if they mail them within four days of Election Day they won’t arrive in time and the votes won’t be counted.
If passed SB1339 would potentially prevent thousands of low-income, young and homebound elderly voters from casting ballots in the 2016. Republican incumbent politicians clearly see these roadblocks for progressive-leaning voters as vital to their long-term future given their extreme maneuvering – and in Shooter’s case outright distortions — to get it passed. House leaders will try to strong-arm the bill through a floor debate on Monday.
Shooter’s most recent distortion occurred on Wednesday when he testified before the House Appropriations Committee that members of several unions collected “5,500 some odd” Permanent Early Voting List requests for early ballots in Yuma during his first run for office, turning them in just before the deadline. Shooter then told committee members that “only 2,000” of those requests were valid. His testimony can be seen here. House Minority Leader Eric Meyer quickly pointed out to Shooter that his anecdote was not germane because his SB1339 criminalizes helping voters turn in early ballots and doesn’t address early ballot requests at all.
Shooter’s story was not only irrelevant, it was also wrong.
Francisco Heredia, executive director of One Arizona, led the 2010 door-to-door GOTV effort in Yuma as then head of Mi Familia Vota. Heredia confirmed that his canvassers turned in about 3,000 Permanent Early Voter List requests not 5,500. And those requests were collected and handed in over the course of several weeks, not all at the last minute. Of those, about 900 or 45 percent, were ultimately invalidated by the Yuma County Recorder, in most cases because the voters were already on the Permanent Early Voter List. They were simply duplicate requests, which are easily caught and corrected by election officials, Heredia said.
“The County Recorder in Yuma and Secretary of State Ken Bennett both confirmed that no voter received more than one ballot and that no ineligible voters were registered,” said Heredia. “Nothing illegal or even controversial happened. But Senator Shooter keeps distorting this story in order to scare his colleagues into making criminals out idealistic young campaign volunteers and disenfranchising thousands of eligible voters, mostly in Latino communities.”
This wasn’t the first time Shooter repeated his tall tale. Earlier this session he told an even taller version. During the February 18 Senate Government hearing on an earlier iteration of Shooter’s bill, he claimed that the 2010 Yuma GOTV effort turned in more than 5,000 VOTES at the deadline, not early ballot requests. Watch here as Sen. Martin Quezada checks Shooter and forces him to admit his story is not true.
Shooter and Republican Secretary of State Michele Reagan are pushing for the voter roadblocks in an effort to recreate — piece by piece — the notorious House Bill 2305 from 2013. That four-part attack on voters also included legislation to criminalize door-to-door early ballot pickups. The Protect Your Right to Vote Coalition, made up of more than 28 organizations, collected over 146,000 signatures in eight weeks that summer to refer HB2305 to the 2014 ballot. Rather than face the voters’ wrath, frightened legislators instead repealed HB2305 last session. But now they are back trying to sneak its parts into law ahead of the 2016 Presidential election where Arizona could come into play as a swing state.
“Politicians like Michele Reagan and Don Shooter are terrified of the demographic changes happening in Arizona, which is growing younger and more diverse every day,” said former House Minority Leader John Loredo, who helped lead the Protect Your Right to Vote effort. “More than 146,000 voters spoke loud and clear on this. But they are afraid of a system where voters pick their politicians. They want to codify a system where politicians pick their voters.”
Here we go again?…Remember the Battle of the Budget? That struggle back in 2009 when Gov. Jan Brewer, so incensed that lawmakers would not send her the state budget, that she went to court?
The upshot of that legal battle before the Arizona Supreme Court was that, in the future, the Legislature must send bills to the governor promptly and “without further delay.”
Well, the future is here, and things look a mite different than they did five years ago. The Legislature completed work on two budget bills, Senate Bills 1487 and 1488, on April 1 (no joking.) But there they sit, getting older by the minute, on the second floor of the Senate with no order to transmit to Brewer.
Of course, there is that ultimatum the governor laid down last week about not sending her any legislation until she got a budget she could sign. Unlike 2009, she’s not agitating to get the two bills. But the court says they should be on her desk. So who, if anyone, will sue this time?
Holy tax loophole….You can’t say Sen. Judy Burges doesn’t read her e-mail. The Sun City West Republican took umbrage with an e-mail urging her to vote “no” on a bill that would give a tax break to church-affiliated properties.
“The Legislature has no place picking winners and losers in religion,” wrote Abby Buchanan, criticizing House Bill 2281.
Which drew this Burges response, according to emails obtained by Insider: “Why do you hate God and His house?”
Buchanan wrote back that she was offended by the question because it missed her point that government should not give favor to religion.
For her part, the senator said an out-of-state resident shouldn’t be picking a fight in Arizona.
“Please let me tell you how absolutely offended I am that someone who professes to live in Maryland wrote to me telling me how we should conduct business in the State of Arizona.,” Burges responded.
Bracketology, guvmint style … As we bask in Final Four weekend, the liberal and conservative political versions of March Madness are down to the wire.
Sadly (or lucky for him), our own John Huppenthal, Arizona superintendent of public instruction, failed to make the cut in Progress Now’s March Badness playoff. Hupp was eliminated by the No. 1 seed, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett.
Here’s the take of Progress Arizona’s Robbie Sherwood on Huppenthal’s flameout: “He was the Mercer of this year’s tournament. Big Cinderella upset in the first round, but ran into a buzz saw.” The championship pairing is between Corbett and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Make your picks at http://bracket.pnstate.org/
Over on the right, U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake has been running #8ofWaste on Twitter. His playoff is down to the Department of State, which signed a five-year, $5million contract for crystal stemware, and the O’Care Hawkers, a taxpayer funded contract with the Baltimore Ravens in which the NFL team would promote Obamacare. Cast your vote via Twitter using #8ofWaste.
Quote of the week: “You ought to act more gay.” – Sen. Olivia Cajero Bedford, D-Tucson, to Sen. Steve Gallardo, D-Phoenix in what she said was meant to be a humorous remark.
I honestly didn’t know it would be that easy.
But last night I fed perennial presidential aspirant Donald Trump‘s monster-sized ego and I feel zero shame about it.
My purpose was two-fold. To see how others would react – would they believe I was serious? But primarily, what I really wanted was to see was if the tornado-coiffed blonde would retweet me. Most importantly, how long would it take him to do it?
The answer to the latter: 102 minutes or 1 hour and 42 minutes.
Felt like a little too long if I’m going to be honest. After the 30-minute mark, my hopes plunged. I’d given up all hope and really didn’t think it would happen.
I sent my suck up tweet at 7:25 p.m. At 9:09 p.m., the ego kicked in. Although, to be fair, the ego had kicked in hours before with a rash of similar suggestions telling Trump he has to run for president in 2016.
As soon as I got it, my spirits soared. “VICTORY!” I tweeted to my followers and naysayers alike. And then something else happened. Adrenaline ran through my veins, and I got this weird instant reaction of: SO WHO ELSE CAN I PRANK? Gwyneth Paltrow consciously came to mind.
Robbie Sherwood, executive director of Progress Now out in Arizona, tried to call me out. “She’s using you for retweets you goofy old fool.” I replied, earnestly, “Stop calling my future President a goofy old fool.”
And one of my devoted followers got upset. “I’m embarrassed for you right now, Betsy,” he wrote. “My God.” I said I can have feelings and hopes for my country. He snapped, “Not if your opinions suck that egregiously.” After I got the blessed retweet, he wrote, ”Oh, I saw. I retweeted it to expose your shameless pandering.”
T. Beckett Adams, business writer for The Blaze, was also disturbed. “I’m judging you so hard right now. I’m laughing through my tears. You are the worst person right now. Betsy is selling her soul for an RT from Donald Trump.” And this: “Feeding the terribly coiffed fool’s monster ego.”
Finding Mr. Righteous author Lisa De Pasquale called me out pretty quickly, asking, “Fishing for a RT?” I quickly replied, “Shhhhh.”
Reactions to my Trump prank tweet and his response ranged from comical to absurd and serious:
“Yes! Save the USA from the vested interests of out of touch Plutocrats!”
“U blinded suck ups are nuts! What does the country need 2B saved from! & what is numbnuts Trump gonna do.”
“How about ‘badger pelt wearing, insecure, moronic, bloviating ass monkey.. better?”
“The most ridiculous statement ever.”
“Hopefully she at least gets a bison burger out of it.”
“Sweet baby Jesus, I needed that belly laugh! Thanks!”
“Acking ack ack ack ack Prackackack. Ack ack ack acks ackack. Ack ack ack ack ack ack ack. ACK!”
“Each individual doing their best saves country not a Trump branded Ego Machine. Be a Gov.,prove yourself.”
“If TRUMP became president he would do an AMAZING job; if Obama took over Celebrity Apprentice, he’d fail.”
The Raw Story: Conservative AZ lawmakers caught on camera shmoozing with shadowy lobbying group ALEC
A steak and cocktails confab between conservative Arizona lawmakers and the shadowy lobbying group the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was caught on tape by an investigative team headed by reporter Morgan Leow.
Phoenix CBS News affiliate KPHO recorded lawmakers entering and leaving the wine and dine session, which was held in a back room at upscale steakhouse Donovan’s, which features $70 steaks and an exclusive clientele.
ALEC hosted the event, a membership drive for legislators. In the past, the group has always operated in utmost secrecy, which has allowed it to sponsor gun-friendly, anti-immigrant, right-leaning legislation initiatives around the country while operating off the books and billing itself as a nonprofit.
“I don’t know which special interests picked up the tab for those lawmakers, but it wasn’t the legislators themselves,” he said.
Sherwood explained to Channel 5 that this is how ALEC — which sponsored Arizona’s controversial “Papers, Please” law [SB 1070] and “Stand Your Ground,” the law cited in the 2012 shooting death of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin — typically does business. The group also flies lawmakers to Washington at its own expense each year for a national conference.
Ellis Carter, an attorney who specializes in nonprofits, told Channel 5 that this is not how nonprofits typically operate.
“The laws that apply to nonprofits recognize that everyone has the right to express their opinion,” he said.
However, “If you are engaging in a substantial amount of lobbying, then your primary purpose is not a charitable one.”
ALEC-affiliated lawmaker Rep. Debbie Lesko (R) said that the group has done nothing wrong, that “(t)here’s lobbyists that come down to the state Capitol every day, too. That doesn’t mean anything.”
“We advocate for things we believe in,” said Lesko. “There’s nothing wrong with what we’re doing. It’s a great organization.”
The known lobbyists who attended the dinner, she insisted, weren’t actually there to work.
As for the event at Donovan’s, she insisted to KPHO, “I invited every single legislator, whether they were Republican or Democrat, to this meeting. Everyone could come.”
State environmental lobbyist Steve Brittle said to the TV station that this is emblematic of the privileged status some lobbyists and groups enjoy with legislators.
“It is absolutely not a level playing field,” he said. “We don’t have access.”
ALEC critics say that four bills introduced by lawmakers in the present legislative session bear the hallmarks of the group’s lobbying shop. None, so far, have been passed.
Watch video about this story, embedded below:
Phoenix New Times: Al Melvin, Tucson State Senator Running for Governor, Misquotes Lincoln — Doesn’t Care
Al Melvin, a state senator running for governor, apparently has never heard of snopes.com.
Nor is he showing interest in debunking anything after he was flambeed by his Twitter followers over the past week and embarrassed in news articles for misquoting Abraham Lincoln.
The Republican from Tucson hasn’t bothered to take down quotes from his Twitter accountin which he erroneously attributes to the 16th president as a backhanded way to try to criticize President Obama.
“#azright Abe Lincoln: ‘You cannot help the poor by destroying the rich. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong,'” read Melvin’s first tweet misquoting Lincoln on December 27. He followed with:
“#azright0 Abe: ‘You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot lift the wage earner up by pulling the wage payer down.'”
“#azright Abe Lincoln:’You cannot further the brotherhood of man by inciting class hatred.'”
For emphasis after the third tweet, he added, “POTUS Obama needs to learn from these words.”
From the site, it appears that Robbie Sherwood, a political consultant, former Arizona Republic reporter and former chief-of-staff for Democratic Congressman Harry Mitchell, nailed Melvin’s misquotes the same day.
“@SenatorMelvin This is an urban legend. Lincoln never said this, it has been falsely attributed to him. http://www.snopes.com/quotes/lincoln/prosperity.asp …” Sherwood chided.
True enough, a months-old post on Snopes, a great site for checking Internet-driven BS that everyone should know about, reveals that the quote actually came from a Presbyterian minister 50 years after Lincoln’s death. It’s part of a list of “cannots” that was put on a pamphlet in the early 20th century and which has been confused with Lincoln nearly ever since for reasons that aren’t clear, the site says.
“Klute,” another of Melvin’s tweet-suckers, tells the senator, “If you can’t be bothered to learn truth from falsehood, why should you be even considered for Governor?”
Melvin doesn’t acknowledge the responses, and leaves the quotes alone.
A story by Arizona reporter Howie Fischer about the misquotes was published in the Sierra Vista Herald on Monday afternoon, and was followed by other news outlets, including today by the national rawstory.com.
“It sounded good to me,” Melvin told Fischer. “If anything, it’s an innocent mistake on my part.”
Melvin’s a former Navy captain who now works as a “trade and transportation consultant.” At least, that’s what it says on his Arizona Legislature member bio. Maybe that should be run by Snopes, too…