Archives for July 2021

Governor Ducey: Protecting Arizona Voters

Arizona’s election laws make it easy to vote — but hard to cheat. Under Governor Doug Ducey’s leadership, Arizona continues to prioritize election integrity to further strengthen the process that makes our representative government a beacon of democracy.

Public confidence in voting is critical — it is the foundation upon which all our elections are built. This year, a number of election-related bills passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed by Governor Ducey send a clear message: every Arizonan eligible to vote will be able to vote, each of those votes will be counted and no one will be allowed to interfere with our elections.

In May, Governor Ducey signed Senate Bill 1485, which renames Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) to Active Early Voting List (AEVL). Under this legislation, if a voter on the AEVL actively votes by mail, they will continue to receive an early ballot. If a voter on the AEVL does not return at least one early ballot over the course of four years (two consecutive primary elections and general elections, and any municipal elections that precede them) the voter will be sent a postcard asking if they still want to receive an early ballot.

The county recorder may additionally reach the voter by telephone, text message, or e-mail. Whether a voter opts to remain on the AEVL or not, they remain eligible to request an early ballot or vote in-person, ensuring no voter is ever disenfranchised.
The Governor’s signing of SB 1485 is just one of the many actions he took during the 2021 legislative session to protect Arizona voters. Another is the signing of HB 2569, which prohibits elections officials from using private funding in our elections. And there are many more: 

Signing of SB 1002 – early voting envelopes; party affiliation (Ugenti-Rita)
Specifies that the early ballot envelope must also not reveal the voter’s political party affiliation.

Signing ofSB 1003 – early voting; signature required; notice (Ugenti-Rita)
Requires the county recorder or other officer in charge of elections to make reasonable efforts to contact the elector and advise them of the missing signature on an early ballot envelope.

Signing ofSB 1492 – election law amendments (Shope)
Makes various changes to statute relating to elections including modifications of various deadlines.

Signing of SB 1497 – ballot measures; proposition 105; disclosure (Ugenti-Rita)
Requires for initiatives and referendums that a Proposition 105 notice be printed by the Secretary of State in the publicity pamphlet, in bold-faced type immediately below the Legislative Council analysis of the initiative or referendum.

Signing ofSB 1530 – early ballots; instructions; undeliverable (Mesnard)
Makes a simple change regarding the envelopes that early ballots are mailed in, requiring the envelope that the ballot is mailed in state “If the addressee does not reside at this address, mark the unopened envelope “Return to Sender” and deposit it in the United States Mail.”

Signing ofSB 1714 – campaign expenditures; out of state; disclosures (Mesnard)
Makes several changes and additions to statute regarding campaign expenditures for out-of-state contributors as it relates to advertisements.

Signing ofHB 2054 – voter registration database; death records (Kaiser)
Requires, rather than allows, the Secretary of State to compare the death records transmitted annually by the Arizona Department of Health Services with the Statewide Voter Registration Database.

Signing of HB 2307 – voting equipment; overvote notice (Kavanagh)
Requires the county board of supervisors, if the voting equipment used for an election rejects over-voted ballots or ballots containing irregularities, to provide a written notice on or near the voting equipment in clear view that advises if the voter chooses to override the overvoted office or measure or any other ballot irregularity, then the voter’s vote for that office or measure will not be tallied.

Signing ofHB 2308 – recall petitions and elections; revisions (Kavanagh)
Makes a number of changes to recall petition submissions and circulations as well as to recall elections. The bill creates consistency between initiatives, referenda and recalls. 

Signing ofHB 2359 – election equipment; access; locks (Kavanagh)
Requires voting machines and electronic pollbooks containing data ports, plugs, doors, and other methods of physical or electronic access to be secured in a manner preventing unauthorized access to the voting machine or electronic pollbook during an election.

Veto ofHB 2360 – committee; driver license voter registrations (Kavanagh)
Would have directed the Secretary of State to maintain and operate the driver license voter registration system with a committee of county recorders by December 31, 2021.

Signing of HB 2362 – elections; ballot privacy folders (Kavanagh)
Requires an election board judge to give a ballot privacy folder to a qualified elector along with the elector’s ballot when voting at a polling location. Specifies that a voter is not required to accept or use a ballot privacy folder.

Signing of HB 2363 – municipal election officers; certification training (Kavanagh)
Allows a city or town to train its own election employees if the training program is approved by the Secretary of State.

Signing of HB 2364 – election pamphlet submittals; identification required (Kavanagh)
Adds to the identification requirements for informational and publicity pamphlet submissions for school district override, initiative and bond elections.

Signing of HB 2569 – elections; private funding; prohibition (Hoffman)
Prohibits the state, city, town, county, school district or other public body that conducts or administers elections from receiving or expending private monies for preparing, administering or conducting an election, including registering voters.

Signing ofHB 2794 – election deadlines; modifications prohibited (Hoffman)
Stipulates that a political subdivision, agent or officer of this state or any other governmental entity may not alter or agree to alter any deadline, submittal date, filing date or other election-related date that is provided for in statute.

Signing ofHB 2905– early ballots; request required (Hoffman) 
Prohibits a county recorder, city or town clerk or other election officer from delivering or mailing an early ballot to a person who has not requested an early ballot for that election or a person who is not on the active early voting list. Any violation by an election officer will be classified as a class 5 felony. 

Strengthening our electoral system was not the only legislation enacted that will benefit people all across the state. Arizona is banning critical race theory in schools, implementing historic tax reform, protecting education freedom and more. Details on the reform-centered bills signed into law by the Governor can be found HERE.

New Data Shows Continued Increase in Phoenix’s Violent Crimes

New Data Shows an Increase in Phoenix’s Violent Crimes

The City of Phoenix has updated its quarterly crime statistics to reflect new data from the first quarter of 2021. While there has been a small decrease in the overall rate of crime in the city, the updated statistics for individual crime categories present a different perspective. The decrease in the overall crime rate is due to lower levels of property crime in Q1 2021. With everyone spending more time in their homes as a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns over the last year, the rate of property crime has drastically decreased across the nation. In its annual Uniform Crime Report (UCR) the FBI reported a 7.8% decrease in the property crime rate across the United States. 

“Among the violent crime statistics reported by the City of Phoenix, sharp increases can be seen in aggravated assault and murder.”

The decrease in the rate of property crime in Phoenix is notable, but there is serious cause for concern when examining the continued increase of violent crime in the city. Among the violent crime statistics reported by the City of Phoenix, sharp increases can be seen in aggravated assault and murder. The occurrence of aggravated assaults in Phoenix has nearly doubled since 2016, with more than 3,500 incidents in the first 2 quarters of 2021 alone. Generating even more concern is the rapidly increasing murder rate in the city. Since 2019, the occurrence of criminal homicide in Phoenix has increased more than 44%.

The increase of violent crimes in Phoenix is representative of a larger national trend. Across the country, crime rates are surging, with particularly acute increases in violent crimes. The FBI’s UCR report found that the overall rate of violent crime in the United States has increased by nearly 3% in the last year. Within this category, there has been a nearly 15% increase in the murder rate and a roughly 5% increase in aggravated assaults. In other major metropolises around the country like New York and Chicago, murder rates have been increasing at a similar rate to those in Phoenix. Chicago has seen an 18% increase in murders while New York has experienced a 13% increase during the same period.

The surge in violent crime in Phoenix and across the country can be attributed to the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns. With more people out of school, work, and lacking positive and productive outlets for their time, violence continues to take hold.

  1. https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/overview-of-preliminary-uniform-crime-report-january-june-2020

2. https://www.fbi.gov/news/pressrel/press-releases/overview-of-preliminary-uniform-crime-report-january-june-2020

3. https://www.bbc.com/news/57581270

Maricopa County Supervisor Gates on CyberNinja “Audit”

In this interview, County Supervisor Bill Gates discusses audit practices in Maricopa County with Mike Broomhead and explains why the “audit” being conducted by the inexperienced, conspiracy theory-driven, Trump fanatic CyberNinjas is not a real audit. The Maricopa County Supervisors were forced to purchase nearly $3 million in new election equipment due to the decertification of machines touched by the CyberNinjas.

Here is the interview:

Stephen Richer Hits Back!

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer was a recent guest on KTAR’s Mike Broomhead Show. For an elected official who really wanted to make the County Recorder’s office boring again, he has utterly failed. Nevertheless, this was a fantastic interview in which Recorder Richer hit back on the conspiracy-driven, unqualified, self-professed auditors who have been destroying election integrity here in Arizona. Here is the interview: