The Daily Agenda: One day left (allegedly)
Someday, this email will not be about the audit ... What happened to Fann? Who knows! ... And our COVID dashboard is still bunk.
On-again, off-again audit liaison Ken Bennett told a right-wing online news station yesterday that the auditors turned over their final draft report to Senate President Karen Fann and her team on Monday, and the Senate team is “vetting” it ahead of tomorrow’s release.
It’s still not clear if they plan to only offer presentations about the report, or if they plan to hand out copies to the public Friday, but Bennett offered a preview of the contents and the cast of conspiracists that will present to the Senate:
Doug Logan, Cyber Ninjas CEO and longtime fraud believer who claimed machines were switching votes on ballots and starred in a mockumentary about the audit, will present on behalf of Cyber Ninjas. Bennett didn’t say what portion of the audit he will cover.
Ben Cotton, head of CyFIR, LLC, who alongside Logan was listed as an expert witness in the widely discredited Antrim County, Michigan, fraud case, will present his findings on the election machines.
Shiva Ayyadurai, an election and COVID-19 misinformation superspreader who goes by "Dr. Shiva" online and was an online favorite to replace Dr. Anthony Fauci (despite the fact that he’s not a real medical doctor) will present his findings on ballot signatures.
Randy Pullen, the former Arizona Republican Party chair who locked Bennett out of the audit after Bennett started to raise doubt, will talk about the Senate’s “third count” of ballots. It required a third count after auditors claimed their initial count didn’t match the number of ballots that the county had, likely because auditors’ counts were wrong. If it was the county’s numbers that were off, we would have heard about it, though auditors never fessed up about the numbers.
Bennett will present on the ways Maricopa County failed to meet and comply with statutes and election procedures.
Bennett said he is “100% confident that what’s in this report is substantiated by the facts and the evidence and the truth.”
He then went on to talk about how the Senate also wants to review the debunked canvass done by a third party (wink, wink) after the Senate explicitly promised the U.S. Department of Justice that it would not do a canvass, which the department said would be a form of voter intimidation.
Bennett noted that much of that report, including its cover page, then the cover page that replaced the original, has already been debunked, but continued to insist that the Attorney General’s Office should look into the canvass’ findings anyway.
Finally, he promised the host that the late Friday release wasn’t a typical Friday news dump to try to minimize the lacking results of the audit, but rather the result of a conflict of schedules since Fann has been out of state this week. Of course, they could have pushed back the release until Monday. What’s another weekend in a neverending audit?
“This is not something we’re trying to bury,” Bennett said.
But don’t get too excited. The audit still won’t be over after tomorrow’s circus. Fann has promised additional volumes, and there’s also the work of the special master with the routers. And even though the audit will allegedly someday be done in Arizona, the imitations we have wrought on the rest of the country are just getting started, the New York Times’ Michael Wines reports.
But he seemed so happy to meet us: Remember so many months ago when the audit first started and they wanted journalists to agree to volunteer for 30 hours in order to get access to the building? It was Logan’s idea, and he didn’t listen to the smart people in the room who told him it was a bad one, the Mirror’s Jerod Macdonald-Evoy reported.
Could be a crowded ballot next year: Citizen referendums have a handful of days left to get all the signatures they need to send measures to the ballot next year. How this works: People have 90 days after a legislative session ends to collect signatures to challenge a bill. If they collect enough valid signatures (118,823 registered voters this time, though they want more than that as a buffer), voters will get a chance to overturn the law at the ballot box in 2022. There are six referendums trying to gather enough signatures right now, challenging mostly election and tax laws, reports the Republic’s Mary Jo Pitzl.
Speaking of referendums and legal challenges: A new anti-abortion law that bans abortions based on genetic conditions and grants rights to fetuses faced the federal courts yesterday. The law is set to go into effect on Sept. 29, but the groups suing over it want that to be delayed while the court case plays out. Given the Texas abortion law that recently went into effect, all eyes are on how the courts will handle Arizona’s latest attempt to limit abortions. The Republic’s Stacey Barchenger listened to the two-hour court hearing and has all the details.
The question on everyone’s mind: Pitzl tried to answer the question, “What happened to Karen Fann?” After reading all 3,500 words, we come away knowing she likes the attention the audit has brought, and she does what her caucus tells her to do.
The more things change: KJZZ’s Katherine Davis-Young surveyed COVID-19 dashboards for all 50 states, and Arizona’s came up short. The Arizona Department of Health Services publishes less about pediatric infections, locations of outbreaks and breakthrough cases than many other states, she found. The new agency head, Don Herrington, wouldn’t do an interview for the story, but ADHS says they plan to add more unspecified “enhancements” to the dashboard. All this talk about the lacking dashboard feels like the early pandemic again.
We demand a meeting with Doug: Gov. Doug Ducey joined Fox News to talk about immigration. He’s one of 26 Republican governors demanding a meeting with President Joe Biden to discuss the border and the “drugs and crime” coming into the country. “It’s a federal issue, we want to work with them, but the time for action is right now,” Ducey said.
Our bank accounts have one comma at most: The amount of money that could flow into Arizona if Biden’s spending plan makes it through Congress is more than $83 billion in the next 10 years, which is an unfathomable amount of money for most regular people to wrap their heads around. The Republic’s Russ Wiles has a rundown of the economic effects the bill could have on our state.
If you’re expecting a windfall from Biden’s spending plan, please share the love. A subscription is only $7 per month.
This will win them over: The CEO of Gannett, which owns the Arizona Republic, does not like that the NewsGuild is investigating his company for work practices, including unpaid overtime allegations. Mike Reed used a lot of choice words in a response letter to the guild and claimed the guild is trying to “tarnish Gannett’s reputation.” He said the complaints of unpaid overtime seemed to stem from union negotiations at the Republic last week, where three people discussed the issue. That kicked off a human resources investigation, he said, though two of the people’s complaints were “general frustration” about hours and the third believed he couldn’t log overtime.
It’s Lerner and Rowe and this now: You can catch billboards around town that call on Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel to resign or be recalled, courtesy of civil rights group Mass Liberation. They include a website, DropAdel.org. If she doesn’t resign, the group and others will start a recall effort, they told the Republic’s Robert Anglen.
Someone help the Lumberjacks: Arizona State University, University of Arizona and Grand Canyon University all saw enrollment increases this year despite a general downward trend in enrollment at many colleges nationwide due to COVID-19, the Republic’s Alison Steinbach reports. But Northern Arizona University continued to decline, its third straight year of lower enrollment. This is a big concern for the college: NAU is more tuition-dependent than the other universities, and the public universities here are already quite tuition-dependent because of low state funding.
The desert heat is never kind to plastic: After a dramatic explosion at a print shop in Chandler and other natural gas leaks, the Arizona Corporation Commission is now opening an investigation into Southwest Gas. They’ve identified some faulty pipes and bad recordkeeping as problems so far, according to the Republic’s Amaris Encinas. Both the explosion in Chandler and a gas leak that evacuated homes in Scottsdale were linked to the same kind of plastic pipe.
Make the Ringing Stop, Arizona PIRG’s new report on robocalls, looks at the efficacy of a new federal law requiring cellphone and landline companies to implement new robocall-fighting technology. Companies were supposed to implement the new technology by the end of June, but — spoiler alert — it’s not going great. In the meantime, Arizona PIRG put together a list of handy tricks for reducing the number of spam auto warranty offers and fake IRS calls you get.
There’s almost a children’s book about the Arizona audit, which is quite a sentence to be writing. A Kickstarter for “Goodnight Audit,” a riff on the classic children’s book “Goodnight Moon,” has more than $4,000 toward its $6,250 goal and still has more than three weeks to meet it. The book shows scenes from the Arizona audit, now unfortunately etched into the memories of far too many Arizonans, with phrases like “goodnight ballots in storage” and “goodnight bamboo paper.” Trevor Nelson, a product marketing manager in Arizona, is the mastermind behind the book. If you back the project at $12, you get a copy of the book, with perks increasing as you pay more. And 30 people who pay $25 or more will get a copy of the book signed by Garrett Archer, ABC 15’s data guru.
The ACLU of Arizona will hold an In Our Shoes workshop to discuss transitioning from prison back into the community. It’s at 6 p.m. today on Zoom.