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The Daily Agenda: Is it always election season?
The number of ballots is too damn high! ... Cyber Ninjas still can't count ... Also, it's Hank's birthday so pony up the $7 already.
Ballots are hitting mailboxes around Arizona ahead of off-year local elections next month. Lots of ballots, it turns out.
A host of Republican electeds and operatives took to Twitter yesterday to suggest fraud because of all the ballots.
Republican state Rep. Travis Grantham noted his sister who moved to California still gets a ballot at her parents’ house. Presumably nobody in the house has used it to fraudulently vote, but he still questioned if someone could vote under her name in-person on Election Day and suggested ending mail voting. (“I’m not into conspiracy but something ain’t right!”)
Congressional candidate and Korean airplane chaser Josh Barnett, who definitely is into conspiracy, posted a handful of ballots all sent to the same Surprise address, claiming it would be easy to “scribble a name in” and send it in. (Twitter reminded him that that’s a felony.) Others followed.
To be fair, it’s understandable that people are suspicious when a stack of ballots addressed to other people shows up at their house.
And because we’re feeling generous today, we’ll assume that the lawmakers in charge of setting election law truly don’t know why the problem exists or why extra ballots don’t mean there’s fraud happening, which is sad, but less sad than the alternative.
So let’s start with the basics. GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake only got one ballot but was still pretty upset about it, having quit the state’s mail voting list along with loads of other fraud-fearing Republicans last year. (Cue Matt Salmon explaining that’s not how any of this works as if most Republican primary voters give a shit — they want someone who smashes TVs, Matt!)
But he’s right — cities have been conducting all-mail elections in Arizona for decades, and there’s nothing suspicious about it. Even if you’re not on the Active Early Voting List (RIP, PEVL), you probably get your local election ballot in the mail.
State law requires ballots to contain a box for voters to check if the ballot is for someone who no longer lives at the address. So check the box and send it back. Still, ideally no homes would get ballots for people who don’t live there.
Officials regularly check voter rolls against the national change of address registry and a multistate voter registration database, not to mention death and other records, but none of that is flawless.
But can someone just vote, scribble a name and send the ballot back?
But as ABC15’s Garrett Archer, a former election worker, explains in this helpful thread, election workers are trained to spot that kind of fraud. The perpetrator would likely be caught, and the vote wouldn’t be counted.
Speaking of elections, what have the gubernatorial candidates been up to? Well, Lake is unstoppable, The Arizona Mirror’s Jeremy Duda tells us in 3,800 words (Lake finally found a piece of real journalism that she likes). Katie Hobbs is hoping the audit and her standing invitation to MSNBC never ends. And she’s printing swag for the general election. Lake doesn’t do real TV — she streams her election fantasy, including that Capitol PD invited the rioters into the Senate, directly on Rumble. Marco Lopez is hot on Spanish TV. Kimberly Yee can’t get on TV, so she’s pressing palms instead. Karrin Taylor Robson can’t get on TV either, but her border stunt did once. And Salmon is subtweeting Lake and linking out to a Politico story reminding people that he “remains in the race.”
If Hank were running for governor, he would take this opportunity to note it’s his birthday and get Alice Cooper to do a Cameo on his behalf. Instead, he’s begging for paid subscriptions. It’s just $7 per month. Sign up now!
If you can’t trust the Cyber Ninjas, who can you trust?: The tally from the Cyber Ninjas hand recount was, absolutely foreseeably, wrong. The Republic’s Robert Anglen has the scoop about findings from real election expert group The Audit Guys, which has been trolling the audit for months, that the entire count was a farce to make the audit look credible by releasing numbers that were essentially made up, but weren’t wrong in that Joe Biden really did win the election.
"It's also worth noting that none of these reports were put together by anyone who ever hand counted anything close to 2.1 million ballots, nor conducted an audit anywhere close to the scope of what we did," Cyber Ninja CEO Doug Logan said in response.
ICYMI because you have an enjoyable life: Last Thursday’s congressional hearing feels like so long ago. But for the sake of continuity: It went as expected. Maricopa County Supervisors Bill Gates and Jack Sellers spoke to the House Oversight panel, as did former audit spokesman Ken Bennett. U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs, who is on the panel, said he’s still not sure who won the election (hint: it’s the guy currently in office). The county also put out a detailed rebuttal of the Cyber Ninjas’ claims that day. Instead of attending the hearing, Cyber Ninjas CEO Logan appeared on a right-wing podcast where the host said he released the fake audit report on Logan’s behalf. As expected, the audit crowd has already turned on him for failing to prove fraud.
Because the 2020 election will never actually end: Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a public records request to the Secretary of State’s Office, seeking data and documents related to the Cyber Ninjas report.
Never good to lie to judges: Former Cochise County Superior Court judge candidate Sandy Russell has been charged for committing perjury on her judicial qualification form by claiming she lived in the county for seven years while also voting in Georgia in 2016, the Herald/Review reports.
What are ethics in politics anyway?: An Arizona Corporation Commission ethics policy aimed at utility campaign spending, put in place after years of controversy over such spending, could violate the constitution and overstep the commission’s authority, legislative attorneys said. Arizona Sen. Rick Gray had requested the opinion from Legislative Council, but it’s not clear what happens next, reports the Arizona Mirror’s Jeremy Duda.
Too moderate for a primary: Arizona Rep. Michelle Udall wants to challenge Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman for schools chief, but she has to win the GOP primary during a particularly far-right swing first. Udall is the chair of the House Education Committee and teaches high school math. A handful of other Republicans are already in the race, including former schools chief and AG Tom Horne.
2020 looks different if a Stop the Stealer is Secretary of State: Secretary of State elections in battleground states are centering around the lie that the election was stolen from former President Donald Trump, a concern for future elections, reports USA TODAY’s Phillip M. Bailey. Arizona is — you guessed it — one of those states.
Never piss off the people with the money: Gov. Doug Ducey said the Biden administration can take him to court if they want their money back. Ducey’s use of COVID-19 relief dollars to disincentivize the use of masks and other public health measures in schools ran afoul of the feds, the U.S. Treasury said last week. But Ducey isn’t giving up the money, setting up a further battle, reports the Republic’s Stacey Barchenger.
Some new legal pot shop licenses will go to people who meet certain “social equity” guidelines. These include household income levels, previously being negatively affected by marijuana enforcement laws and living in parts of town that have been disproportionately affected by marijuana laws. The Arizona Department of Health Services recently released the list of ZIP codes considered to be disproportionately affected. The full list of ZIP codes is here, and the Republic’s Ryan Randazzo has a more detailed analysis of the social equity program.
Both of our ZIP codes qualify for social equity licenses. Your $7 per month subscription probably won’t get us into the rich ZIP codes, but it won’t hurt. Subscribe now!
In an attempt at homophobic “humor,” Republican state Rep. Wendy Rogers got mad about the new Superman while getting the basic facts wrong and misspelling the original Superman’s love interest’s name. This is politics now, we guess. Rogers’ tweet came after it was announced that the new Superman, Jonathan Kent, the son of Clark Kent and Lois Lane, is bisexual. “Superman loves Louis Lane. Period. Hollywood is trying to make Superman gay and he is not,” Rogers tweeted. “Just rename the new version Thooperman so we can all know the difference and avoid seeing it.” To start, Superman is a fictional character. Louis is typically a man’s name. If Jonathan Kent, who is bisexual and not gay and still a fictional character, were dating Lois Lane, he’d be dating his mom. Anyway, this person gets to make laws.
Stacey Abrams, bestselling author and former Democratic nominee for Georgia governor, will speak at the Mesa Arts Center at 7:30 tonight. Tickets start at $53.
The Pima County Republican Club will meet at 11:30 a.m. at the Kettle Restaurant, 748 W Star Pass Blvd in Tucson.