AZ Activist: “something is not right here”
It was election night and the polls where barely closed when Ellee Koss had arrived back to her home in San Francisco. The dust of the Arizona desert was not off her well traveled shoes and her mind was still on matters in Maricopa County.
Koss had left her condominium in San Francisco to go on an election aimed pilgrimage that ended with an arrival at the Grand Canyon State the Sunday before the election to assist in any way possible with the campaign to ouster Maricopa County’s notorious anti-Latino Sherriff Joe Arpaio. Arpaio has become a media darling in the same way that bad guy wrestlers gain the spotlight in the World Wrestling Federation. Arpaio has been known to have his officers on motorcycles circle around Latino children causing sand to spray into their eyes in same way that villainous wrestlers blind their opponents with a hand full of salt. Like the announcers of faux wrestling the hosts of cable news shows never question Arpaio on his cruelty they just hand him the mic and bask in Sherriff Joe’s rating gaining bombastic rants.
Koss had noticed a trend as she called voters to remind them to head to the polls. Repeatedly she found that voters that registered for the first time had not received their sample ballots and did not know where their polls were. Many of the first time voters also had requested mail in ballots that never arrived. “Something here is not right” she had told MarioWire during a phone call the Monday before the November 6th election. On election day she told Mariowire.com about the stated election results in Maricopa “these numbers do not add up”. As a numbers prone economist Ellee Koss should know.
“This is a sad commentary on democracy in Arizona” said Randy Parraz who leads Citizens for a Better Arizona. What we are seeing in Maricopa County is a systemic breakdown of the election process”. The group Parraz leads had registered over thirty thousand new voters and has yet to give up on seeing those votes counted. “This is about playing by the rules” Parraz told me on Sunday. There are still over three hundred thousand votes left to be counted in Maricopa County alone. The difference between Arpaio and his closest opponent is eighty thousand down from nightly thousand which was the count before the neglected votes had begun to be counted.
People in Maricopa County have told MarioWire.com that initially the registrar was reluctant to admit the number of votes that were left uncounted. In fact the local election officials initially told concerned Maricopa citizens that there were only seventy five thousand votes that were not yet counted. As pressure grew and more people became aware of the situation Maricopa officials admitted that the count was well over four hundred thousand in Maricopa alone.
The count could still be spoiled as politicians in the state have recently changed rules concerning the counting of provisional ballots. The new rules bar voters from casting provisional ballots in precincts other than their own. This home precinct only rule is unusual in that provisional ballots in most states can be cast anywhere within that state and are subject to verification before they are counted should the gap in votes make them potentially critical to the outcome. In the case of Arizona if a voter did not receive their sample ballot they would have to make what amounts to a lucky guess to make sure that they went to the correct polling place to cast their provisional or emergency ballot in order for their vote to be counted. The combination of misleading information distributed by election officials in the critical pre-election period and robo calls made from GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jeff Flake distributing misinformation on polling locations to Democratic, largely Latino, voters and the new rule is devastating. This anti-voter trifecta would clearly increase the election day confusion and place an unusually high number of voters in the “lucky guess” situation.
To add injury to insult to these provisional voters they will also not have their votes for President or U.S. Senate counted either even though Federal law allows for the counting of provisional ballots from each state. As Randy Parraz concluded “These voters are being treated as if they are not even citizens of the United States”