Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Redistricting development; election update

As of about 7:30 this evening, the CD2 race had tightened dramatically. Incumbent Congressman Ron Barber is now within about 350 votes with about 24,000 early ballots remaining to be counted in Pima County.

After apparent loss of two seats in the Arizona House, Tucson's LD9 Democratic candidate Randy Friese has taken a lead over Republican Ethan Orr. Since nationwide, Democrats lost hundreds of seats in state legislatures, it's looking like Arizona's not fairing too badly in that category. For the most part, we've held ground.

The Superintendent of Public Instruction race is still too close to call but with Scrooge McDucey now as governor-elect, I wonder if it might not be better to endure two years of Republicans screwing up our k-12 public education and make it a cause célèbre for the 2016 election season.

Then we'll see just how mad the Arizona electorate will be as Scrooge McDucey tries to eliminate the state income tax.

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Pursuant to a stipulated motion filed jointly by counsel for plaintiffs (and defendant AIRC) in Leach v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, Maricopa County Judge Mark Brain ordered a stay of the proceedings pending the Supreme Court disposition of Arizona Legislature v AIRC.

In his October 30th minute entry, Judge Brain states,
9:00 a.m. This is the time set for a telephonic status conference regarding the parties’ Joint Motion to Stay (filed October 17, 2014). All parties appear telephonically. Plaintiffs are represented by counsel, Lisa T. Hauser and Michael T. Liburdi. Defendant Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is represented by counsel, Mary R. O’Grady and Joseph Kanefield. Defendant Ken Bennett is represented by counsel, Michele Lee Forney.
A record of the proceedings is made by audio and/or videotape in lieu of a court reporter.
The court and parties discuss the ramifications of the proposed stay. The parties acknowledge that it is unlikely that there will be time to redraw the district lines for the 2016 elections if the stay is granted; notwithstanding that fact, all of the parties wish to stay this matter pending the Supreme Court's decision.
IT IS ORDERED granting the parties’ Joint Motion to Stay, all in accordance with the Order Granting Joint Motion to Stay All Proceedings electronically signed by the court on October 30, 2014 and filed by the Clerk on October 31, 2014.
Background as stated in the Joint Motion to Stay,
The action pending in this court was brought by private plaintiffs and challenges the constitutionality of Arizona’s Congressional Districts as certified by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (the “AIRC” or “Commission”) due to alleged violations of various redistricting procedures mandated by the Arizona Constitution, which allegations the Commission denies.
In a separate action brought by the Arizona Legislature, a three-judge panel was asked, in part, to declare that the voter-adopted amendments to the Arizona Constitution removing congressional redistricting authority from the Legislature violate the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution and that, as a result, the congressional maps adopted by the AIRC are unconstitutional and void. The District Court found no violation of the Elections Clause and granted the Defendants’ Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim. Ariz. State Legislature v. Ariz. Indep. Redistricting Comm’n, 997 F. Supp.2d 1047 (D. Ariz. 2014). The Legislature appealed and, on October 2, 2014, the Supreme Court of the United States postponed the question of jurisdiction to the hearing of the case on the merits of two questions: whether the Elections Clause of the United States Constitution and 2 U.S.C. § 2a(c) permit Arizona’s use of a commission to adopt congressional districts and whether the Arizona Legislature has standing to bring the suit. Ariz. State Legislature, 2014 WL 4916185 at *1.
If the Supreme Court of the United States concludes that the AIRC lacks congressional redistricting power and the District Court subsequently invalidates the Commission-adopted congressional districts, the action pending in this court to determine whether the AIRC followed the constitutionally-mandated redistricting procedures when crafting these same congressional districts may be moot. Thus, the parties agree that it is in the interests of justice and judicial economy to stay their litigation pending the outcome of the Legislature’s case.
CONCLUSION 
The parties ask this Court to stay all proceedings in this matter until the Supreme Court of the United States issues its decision on the merits in Arizona State Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.
I would have posted these documents earlier except that I spent the day today conducting (along with dozens of other Democrats and Republicans) the Maricopa County hand-count audit conducted pursuant to A.R.S. §16-602 B. 1.
B. For each countywide primary, special, general and presidential preference election, the county officer in charge of the election shall conduct a hand count at one or more secure facilities. The hand count shall be conducted as prescribed by this section and in accordance with hand count procedures established by the secretary of state in the official instructions and procedures manual adopted pursuant to section 16-452. The hand count is not subject to the live video requirements of section 16-621, subsection C, but the party representatives who are observing the hand count may bring their own video cameras in order to record the hand count. The recording shall not interfere with the conduct of the hand count and the officer in charge of the election may prohibit from recording or remove from the facility persons who are taking actions to disrupt the count. The sole act of recording the hand count does not constitute sufficient grounds for the officer in charge of the election to prohibit observers from recording or to remove them from the facility. The hand count shall be conducted in the following order:
1. At least two per cent of the precincts in that county, or two precincts, whichever is greater, shall be selected at random from a pool consisting of every precinct in that county. The county political party chairman for each political party that is entitled to continued representation on the state ballot or the chairman's designee shall conduct the selection of the precincts to be hand counted. The precincts shall be selected by lot without the use of a computer, and the order of selection by the county political party chairmen shall also be by lot. The selection of the precincts shall not begin until all ballots voted in the precinct polling places have been delivered to the central counting center. The unofficial vote totals from all precincts shall be made public before selecting the precincts to be hand counted. Only the ballots cast in the polling places and ballots from direct recording electronic machines shall be included in the hand counts conducted pursuant to this section. Provisional ballots, conditional provisional ballots and write-in votes shall not be included in the hand counts and the early ballots shall be grouped separately by the officer in charge of elections for purposes of a separate manual audit pursuant to subsection F of this section.

Today it is a case of the grasshopper pitted against the elephant. But tomorrow the elephant will have its guts ripped out. Le Loi, Vietnamese emperor, 15th Century.

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