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.

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:

Interview with Conspiracy Theorist, Gail Golec

The latest video by Scottsdale Studios features conspiracy theorist Gail Golec in an almost 10-minute ramble about 2020 Maricopa County ballots.

Gail Golec

Gail Golec is a Republican Precinct Committeewoman in Mirada precinct located in Legislative District 23 in Scottsdale. Her effective date was August 4, 2020 which means she was appointed by the Maricopa Board of Supervisors and her election to precinct committeeman was cancelled. She got a free ride into her elected party position. The interview is conducted by someone who goes by the name of “Michael.”

The first objectionable thing Golec says is that the Board of Supervisors is being “obstructionist.” The reality is that the Board of Supervisors must serve all citizens of Maricopa County. They do not serve a tiny pack of conspiracy theorists. Because of this, they are obligated by law to assess any/all risks of potential violations of both state and federal law. Election matters are governed by state and federal law. Turning over ballots to a tiny pack of conspiracy theorists could put the county and its citizens into a major lawsuit that could cost taxpayer millions of dollars. The BOS has to take this into consideration should they decide to expose these ballots to a tiny pack of conspiracy theorists.

This is not being obstructionists. This is not being Democrat. This is not being Republican. This is simply following good governance and the law.

Gail Golec is NOT a certified election officer with the State of Arizona. She states that she has been a PC for two years. This is not enough time, knowledge or experience to understand how elections work here in Arizona. She is not an elections attorney. In Arizona, there are only a handful of people who have an exhaustive knowledge of election law, process and procedure. I doubt that Gail Golec has even read the Election Procedures Manual issued by the Secretary of State and approved by the Attorney General and Governor.

Golec argues that the BOS will not allow the “audit” to be conducted at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) because the Supervisors have said that it is “our building.” What Gail fails to understand is that the building is the property of Maricopa County and the Supervisors have full and proper legal authority to control the building to the point that they can task the County Sheriff, Paul Penzone, to secure the building just like PCSO controls and secures the jail. Just because it is county property does not mean any tiny pack of conspiracy theorists can waltz into the building and take it over.

Gail then makes the claim that there is international cyber warfare taking place and moving the ballots out of the MCTEC vault will subject them to exposure. The mention of international cyber warfare is a tenet of the conspiracy theory being floated by tiny packs like this.

Gail makes the statement. “they (BOS) can run but they can’t hide” as if to suggest that the Supervisors are “on the run.” This is ridiculous. The Supervisors are very much in public continuing to govern the county while they deal with this tiny pack of conspiracy theorists. She even claims that “this crime was committed throughout the entire State of Arizona.” Golec fails to name the crime committed. The Maricopa County has not arrested anyone. The Arizona Attorney General or a Grand Jury has not indicted anyone. There is no crime.

Golec then suggests that some “honest” County Recorder should stand up and say, “I want a fair and free election in my county.” What does that even mean? Gail needs to remember that Maricopa County now has a new County Recorder – a Republican named Stephen Richer. Recorder Richer defeated Adrian Fontes, a Democrat who ran the 2020 Elections. One would think that Golec could ask Recorder Richer to find the “crime” that was committed by the former Recorder who should have won in order to cover up the crime that was committed.

Golec states that there are 16 counties in Arizona. There are actually 15 counties in Arizona. Each County Recorder knows their peers in the other counties and are part of an association of county recorders. Does Golec think one moment that someone in this group will go full blown conspiracy theorist and turn on their association peers?

The conspiracy theorist interviewer then asks Golec a question by training his fire on Attorney General Mark Brnovich (which he sorely mispronounces) suggesting that the AG is also in on the conspiracy theory coverup. The tag-team interview “question” allows Golec to cite ARS §16-624 which addresses the disposition of official returns and ballots. She then confuses ballots and the canvass (two different documents). Golec said she spoke with Recorder Richer about transferring the “canvass” to the Treasurer, John Allen (also newly elected) which did not take place. Here’s what the statute says:

After the canvass has been completed, the officer in charge of elections shall deposit the package or envelope containing the ballots in a secure facility managed by the county treasurer, who shall keep it unopened and unaltered for twenty-four months for elections for a federal office or for six months for all other elections, at which time he shall destroy it without opening or examining the contents.

ARS § 16-624.A.

A few things here: The statute mentions the canvass but it clearly states, “the officer in charge of elections shall deposit the package or envelope containing the ballots in a secure facility managed by the county treasurer…” There is a difference between the canvass and the ballots. The other thing that Golec fails to understand is that MCTEC has a warehouse and vault large enough to hold the 2.1 million ballots until they can be placed under the management of the County Treasurer in the vault located under the courts at 3rd Avenue & Jefferson Street but only after any adjudication has completed. She does not say that she spoke with Treasurer Allen over the custody issue.

Golec then returns to the theme of, “we want this audit in that building” by arguing that the State Senate reigns over the County Board of Supervisors – clearly another failure to understand the role of elective bodies and separation of powers. She repeats that, “we cannot allow anything to be moved from that building (MCTEC).” Statements like this suggest that the audit is doomed to fail and the the outcome will further affirm the conspiracy theory.

The interviewer then admits on camera that he met Gail Golec during a protest at the County Recorder when “we didn’t know what was going on” and “we were just a bunch of enraged people.” He then states that she has “very quickly risen to be one of the big players of the citizenry.” The interviewer has it all wrong and Gail Golec has it all wrong. They both fail to understand election law and how our election process works.

Gail Golec self identifies as being part of the Save America Team and that “we are definitely ready to take back our country” and “we know that there was a cover-up and we know that we are going to discover it.”

Her final ramble goes on about fighting the media, censorship and contacting their Reps because of “Covid” – all signs of conspiracy theory delusion.

Here’s the full interview:

Audio: Sonny Borrelli & Staci Burk

Here is the audio of the recorded conversation between Arizona State Senator Sonny Borrelli and conspiracy theorist Staci Burk regarding turning over alleged evidence of shredded ballots that were obtained by Earl Shafer while dumpster diving on Maricopa County property.

This conversation breaks down quickly as Borrelli and Burk argue over who should have the ballots.

Recalls Have Unintended Consequences!

In the latest video by Scottsdale Studios and We the People AZ Alliance, activists in the group announced more Republicans are now their recall targets. (I predicted this. Where does it stop?)

Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Chucri and State Senator Paul Boyer are the latest elected officials who they have filed recall applications against.

In addition, the Trump-obsessed group announced they were pulling recall applications against Republican Governor Doug Ducey, Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Democrat Superintendent of Public Instruction, Kathy Hoffmann.

(It’s only a matter of time before they file recalls against Attorney General Mark Brnovich, State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, The Corporation Commission and State Mine Inspector Joe Hart! And anyone else that doesn’t pass their purity test!)

In the video, Verl Farnsworth, who once ran for US President and other local offices, whips up the crowd promising even more recalls sometime in the next week. Farnsworth indicates they will recall one more member of the House of Representatives, another State Senator, one mayor of a city in Maricopa County and several members of city councils.

What does this mean?

First, recall efforts are extremely difficult campaigns to pull off. The last successful effort occurred in 2011 when former State Senator Russell Pearce was targeted and removed from office. Recall signature campaigns are extremely difficult because they require the collection of tens of thousands of valid signatures within a 120-day period. There’s a reason why they were set up to be difficult!

Second, even if a signature collection effort is successful in obtaining the minimum number of signatures, they must be validated AND are always challenged in court. On top of that, there is an appeals process that takes time and costs money.

Third, Democrats always take advantage of Republican on Republican violence. Vote splitting will occur.

Recall campaigns run a challenger Republican candidate against the elected Republican who doesn’t pass their “purity test.” Democrats plot and wait for this to happen and take advantage of a vote split even in the most Republican of districts. The challenger won’t win. The elected official won’t survive the recall. The Democrat will win. Democrat elected!

Recalls are a bad idea. Normal election cycles work. Primary Elections work. They allow the parties to purify their candidates.

These recalls are based on ignorance and revenge.

If these recalls succeed, the unintended consequence will be that Democrats will take control of almost all authority in Arizona and the recallers will have put themselves and all Republicans into a state of tyranny.

Don’t sign the petitions and pray the recall effort fails.

Recall Virus!

Arizona Republican elected officials appear to be suffering an outbreak of Recall Virus-20 with Maricopa County now declared a hotspot.

The source of the virus seems to have originated in a West Valley Glendale lab run by We the People AZ Alliance with potential links to Republican members in the Arizona State Senate.

Recall Virus-20

Most recently, infections of Recall Virus-20 were confirmed among county government elected Supervisors Jack Sellars, Bill Gates, Clint Hickman and Steve Gallardo.

Currently all Supervisors are showing little or no harm.

Although one Democrat Supervisors has been infected, it seems Republicans are the most susceptible victims.

It is also unconfirmed that one State Senator from LD20 may have also been exposed to this vicious political virus.

Recall Virus-20 appears to spread quickly through highly emotional superspreaders that demonstrate disoriented, irrational and even rabid symptoms.

Republican elected officials are most at risk with voter signatures identified as the main agent attacking the elected official.

Sonoran Alliance has calculated risk levels and political survival rates for Republicans who may be attacked by the virus. Here are those numbers:

Karen Fann – 36,444 signatures
Sonny Borrelli – 22,077 signatures
Wendy Rogers – 30,803 signatures
TJ Shope – 21,651 signatures
Vince Leach – 33,346 signatures
Warren Petersen – 39,001 signatures
Sine Kerr – 23,397 signatures
David Gowan – 26,515 signatures
Nancy Barto – 23,148 signatures
Kelly Townsend – 24,510 signatures
JD Mesnard – 32,313 signatures
Paul Boyer – 25,199 signatures
Rick Gray – 18,966 signatures
David Livingston – 38,260 signatures
Michelle Ugenti-Rita – 37,952 signatures
Tyler Pace – 28,623 signatures

Arizona Senate Republicans should exercise extreme caution and avoid all contact with recall superspreaders in order to avoid being infected by the virus or becoming superspreaders themselves.

Democrat elected officials appear to be at very low risk to the Recall Virus-20.

Trump Lost. Get Over It!

Time to toss a grenade in the room.

This video is complete bullshit! This is nothing more than playing on people’s fears and anxiety by misleading them down a dead end of misinformation.

Scottsdale Studios put this together and I will find out who paid them. And if taxpayer dollars were used, a complaint will be filed.

I also challenge this amateur video crew to conduct the same interviews in downtown Tempe, downtown Phoenix or even downtown Gilbert.

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors have done NOTHING wrong, unethical or illegal. They did their job.

If you really believe the election was stolen in Maricopa County, do you not think that the former Democrat County Recorder would have won along with two new progressive Democrat Supervisors so they could cover up the steal? If you recall, the first few days after the election, two Republican supervisors were losing. Even the new Republican County Recorder knows the election was not stolen!

The truth is that starting in 2018, Democrat activists outworked Republicans building a machine ready for 2020. They identified and registered thousands of new people and motivated them to vote against Trump.

Why was there no outcry after the 2018 General Election? Why was there no outcry after the 2020 Primary Election? Why now? Where were you people when we lost the US Senate seat in 2018 and 2020? Where were you people when we lost the Superintendent of Public Instruction, Secretary of State and Corporation Commission seats???

Where you lose all credibility – besides not being able to make a logical argument or provide evidence – is when you leave our other Republican candidates behind.

Your fatal flaw is you put all your faith in Donald Trump to be your savior while failing to fight for the other Republican candidates.

Trump lost in Maricopa County because there were more people who didn’t vote for him than did vote for him.

Your problem is not with the Board of Supervisors. It’s not with the new Republican Recorder. Your problem is with the people who got tired of Trump’s bullying, antics, drama, incompetence, tantrums, authoritarianism and performance. Your problem is with the 51,465 freedom-loving, anti-big government people who voted for the Libertarian candidate.

The election is over and sure, there will be an audit but that won’t be enough to break your cognitive dissonance that Trump actually did lose.

If Republicans don’t get focused and back on mission instead of living in the past, this state is going to turn deeper purple and then dark blue in 2022.

Calling Out Crazy and Dangerous

We’re being told that January 6, 2021 will be the next opportunity for President Trump to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. That’s when both houses of Congress will convene to count and certify the results of the Electoral College.

Trump supporters are banking on Vice President Pence to hear the objections of members of the House and Senate before pushing for an alternative to the long-held historical practice of finalizing the vote and selecting the next President of the United States.

President Trump and his army of supporters are leaning heavily on Vice President Pence to thwart this process and re-elect Donald J. Trump as the next President. Social media is ablaze with speculation about what will happen and the consequences of Pence’s action.

We’re hearing that riots will break out across America as the left sets fire to anything their torches touch. This is not hard to believe since the left has a track record of hyper-emotional reaction and violence to events to which they object.

On my Twitter feed, I’ve been clear that I don’t expect anything to change with regard to our election results. (I’ve been working in elections for over 30 years.) Our system works pretty well, especially here in Arizona and frankly, Democrats were motivated to kick DJT out of the White House.

Some of my fellow Republicans – and I use that term questionably since many of them behave more like they’re in a cult – have said that if Pence doesn’t fall in line with his boss, their will be an uprising across America. In other words, they plan on unleashing a rebellion.

I don’t believe it.

When they claim they’ll start another civil war, I don’t think they have the conviction let alone fortitude to do so. Most of them would rather head down to the State Capitol and hold another rally in which they complain about the election while waving Gadsden flags and making speeches. These are the patriots on paper.

But there are others using anonymous online identities making threats of rebellion and all-out war to defend the Dear Leader. These are the dangerous and crazy ones and they need to be called out.

In this country, we have an institution called the Rule of Law and when you follow it and exhaust it, you need to respect it and its final outcome. It’s how we govern here in America.

This author in no way advocates for violence, let alone civil unrest or war. If you do not like the outcome of our elections, legal rulings or legislative process, you have other peaceful forms of protest available.

Speaker Rusty Bowers Addresses Calls for the Legislature to Overturn 2020 Certified Election Results

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers today issued the following statement:

This week, Rudy Giuliani, Jenna Ellis, and others representing President Donald Trump came to Arizona with a breathtaking request:  that the Arizona Legislature overturn the certified results of last month’s election and deliver the state’s electoral college votes to President Trump.  The rule of law forbids us to do that.

Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Ellis made their case here at least twice—on Monday, at an unofficial public gathering hosted by a small group of legislators; and again on Tuesday, during a closed-door meeting at the State Capitol with Republican leaders from both chambers of the Legislature.  Both times, the Trump team made claims that the election was tainted by fraud but presented only theories, not proof.  U.S. Attorney General William P. Barr said on Tuesday that he, too, has “not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a different outcome of the election.”

Even if such evidence existed, the Arizona Legislature simply couldn’t do what is being asked.  Under our state’s constitution, the Legislature can act only when it is in session, and the Legislature could call itself into a special session only with the support of a bipartisan supermajority of its members.

That won’t materialize, but even if did, the Legislature couldn’t provide the recourse the President’s team seeks.  The U.S. Constitution authorizes each state to appoint presidential electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.”  For decades, Arizona law has required that the voters elect the state’s electors on Election Day—this year, on November 3rd.  And under a law the Republican-led Legislature passed just three years ago, the state’s electors are required to cast their votes for the candidates who received the most votes in the official statewide election canvass.  Enacted after the 2016 presidential election, in which President Trump won the electoral college but not the popular vote, the law was aimed at ensuring that Arizona’s electors would remain faithful to the vote of the people.

So under current Arizona law, the presidential electors who were elected on November 3 must, after the canvass is completed, vote for the winners of the popular vote.  Nothing in the U.S. Constitution or the decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court even suggests that the Arizona Legislature could retroactively appoint different electors who would cast their ballots for different candidates.  The Trump legal team has cited McPherson v. Blacker (1892), to claim that the legislature can “resume the power [to appoint electors] at any time.”  And it is true that the Arizona Legislature could alter the method of appointing electors prospectively.  But it cannot undo the election of electors whom the voters already voted for.  As the Supreme Court made clear in Bush v. Gore (2000), “[w]hen the state legislature vests the right to vote for President in its people, the right to vote as the legislature has prescribed is fundamental.”

No election is perfect, and if there were evidence of illegal votes or an improper count, then Arizona law provides a process to contest the election: a lawsuit under state law.  But the law does not authorize the Legislature to reverse the results of an election.

As a conservative Republican, I don’t like the results of the presidential election.  I voted for President Trump and worked hard to reelect him.  But I cannot and will not entertain a suggestion that we violate current law to change the outcome of a certified election.

I and my fellow legislators swore an oath to support the U.S. Constitution and the constitution and laws of the state of Arizona.  It would violate that oath, the basic principles of republican government, and the rule of law if we attempted to nullify the people’s vote based on unsupported theories of fraud.  Under the laws that we wrote and voted upon, Arizona voters choose who wins, and our system requires that their choice be respected.

Forty years ago next month, President Ronald Reagan reminded us that while the “orderly transfer of authority” is a “commonplace occurrence” for Americans, “[i]n the eyes of many in the world, this every-4-year ceremony we accept as normal is nothing less than a miracle.”  Now, Americans are being reminded once again never to take for granted what President Reagan correctly described as “the continuity which is the bulwark of our Republic.”