Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Sunday, March 29, 2015

SHAMELESSLY DEFIANT! -- the GOP irrational rationalization for Voter Suppression

"Protecting the integrity" of the vote, Don "shoot 'em up" Shooter (R-LD13/"Yuma") says. But when pressed for examples, the ONLY thing he could come up with is that they want to prevent organized groups (citing Union activity and minority advocacy organizations) from ensuring the votes of large numbers of voters actually get counted. Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself.

During the March 25 hearing of the House Appropriations committee debate on Shooter's strike-all amendment to SB1339, this took place:

Leading off, Shooter nonchalantly cited his dread of having organized groups assist voters with early ballot REQUESTS, wholly unrelated to the bill. This introduces a logical fallacy into the debate. Think of it as hitting a foul ball (not even close to the foul line) and having the umpire (committee chair Justin Olson) declining to call it a foul ball. Shooter aggressively runs to first base and does his best to STEAL more bases.

Testifying after Shooter, state elections director Eric Spencer says, "the Secretary of State sees no reason to curb a longstanding tradition in Arizona politics," to attempt to distract the defense (House Minority Leader Eric Meyer and Rep. Andrew Sherwood) by saying his office doesn't want to prevent family members from turning in other voters' ballots.

By obvious inference, the SOS, Shooter and the GOP caucus in the AZ House brazenly advocate for VOTER SUPPRESSION of groups they don't want to vote. In this case, it includes elderly and other home bound voters.

House Minority Leader Eric Meyer (D-LD28/Phoenix) rightfully challenged Shooter because Shooter's cited examples had nothing to do with either early ballot collection or anything else related to the strike all amendment being debated in the House Appropriations committee last Wednesday.

This, of course, is the fulcrum underlying the imbalance of political power in Arizona. Just as the GOP legislature sued the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission because it represents the PEOPLE working to strengthen the voice of the voter in public policy, so too is the issue of VOTER SUPPRESSION.

Shooter and Spencer were at bat for Team Plutocracy. Meyer and Rep. Andrew Sherwood (D-LD26/Tempe) were pitching/playing defense for Team We the People (aka, Team Genuine Republicanism).

Spencer, trying to project a sense of fairness, and as a way to avoid having to cite an actual, tangible problem that they want to address with this measure, responded to Sherwood's effort to get the elections official to cite examples of fraudulent incidents in Arizona, said, "If you'll permit me to answer that in a couple of different ways, I do think this subject is worth exploring." He then goes on to NOT answer the question. Instead, he tries to suggest that during the 2014 campaign Democratic Secretary of State candidate Terry Goddard, acknowledged and believed was a problem in Arizona.

Why was he pretending to speak for Goddard? That's brazen subterfuge.

Spencer then disrespects the Democratic committee members challenging him by saying that their request for specific examples suggests "we lurch from scandal to scandal." He wants to be proactive and that's how he validates the GOP VOTER SUPPRESSION efforts without having to prove there's any real, tangible problem. "Identifying the problem before it becomes a crisis is a far better way to address this," Spencer indicated, thereby casting a baited hook with his verbal sleight of hand. Setting the stage with his subterfuge and misdirection, he proclaims that, "third, there are legions of examples of ballot harvesting fraud occurring across the country." Except that his legions were nothing that demonstrates actual fraud.

Spencer cited arrests "last month of two individuals" in connection with a ballot harvesting operation. News stories do NOT cite allegations of fraud but rather indictment/arrest FOR having possession of ballots from people without their permission. In other words, no crime except for the fact that Texas passed a law to criminalize citizens responsibly carrying out responsibilities of citizenship (in this case by helping people get their signed, sealed ballots delivered and counted).
Garza is accused of having fewer than 10 official ballots or official carrier envelopes without the voter’s consent.
Elizondo’s charge involves possessing more than 10 but less than 20 official ballots or official carrier envelope’s without the voter’s consent making it a third degree felony.
Prosecutors did not specify which race the alleged voter fraud took place, but the following races were on the ballot...
This is just too convenient. The story (vaguely) uses the words "voter fraud" but only indicates the problem was unauthorized possession of the ballots. It does NOT say anything about any ballots having been changed or tampered with in any way.

The Cameron County indictments appear to have been in response to a group committed to finding fraud, but NOT indicating that there was any actual fraud. Here's what they think takes place,
"The pattern is for the politiqueras, which is a person paid by candidates, to go and specifically take votes from people, the mail in votes, they go and they pick up the mail in ballots from people who live in assisted living centers, the nursing homes. They take their ballots, fill them out for them and then mail it and those votes are not valid votes, they're stealing votes and so it ruins the authenticity of all our elections," says Flores.
But the story presents NO examples of anything other than just collecting the ballots and delivering them to be counted. The fraud is only something these activists invoke a Spanglish word to scare the public into a gut-level fear reaction (demagoguery) without citing any examples of actual tampering with ballots.

Spencer then said, "Miami-Dade County is legendary for ballot harvesting abuse," yada, yada, yada. This is ENTIRELY partisan.

Thoughtful consideration of Texas' history of voter suppression laws is germane to this discussion and to properly understanding exactly what problem Spencer cites as justification for suppressing the voting rights of thousands of Arizona voters. And when another state goes after CITIZENS for exercising their rights and responsibilities as citizens, the only legitimate characterization is fear-based VOTER SUPPRESSION.

There you have it. State elections director Eric Spencer cites overly vague reports of situations in other states because there has been NO voter fraud by groups assisting with ballot collection in Arizona. And when he cites those out of state incidents, he apparently doesn't have to explain what actually took place in those states. "If we are aware of the abuses that happen in other states, I don't see how we can sit back and just wait for it to happen in Arizona," fearmonger Spencer pronounced, followed by concern about people who will be disenfranchised if we don't proactively disenfranchise Latinos and elderly, home bound voters.

Again, BRAZEN disrespect for voters who tend to vote Democratic so we can protect the Republican voters from imagined malefactors.

There you have it. We have known for more than two years that Michele Reagan was all about VOTER SUPPRESSION. Now we have her mouthpiece asking for a prophylactic measure to disenfranchise a disfavored group based on ginned up stories to prevent a dreaded dilution of the votes of his favored voters.

THIS is just one more measure nailing shut the lips of voters so that the Voice of the People has a much harder time fighting the blatant plutocracy by Republicans at the Arizona Capitol.


NOTE: SB1339 is on House Committee of the Whole debate calendar #2 for Monday afternoon. House leadership typically does not announce times for COW calendar debates. If you have the opportunity to check from time to time, you may be able to catch the live streaming broadcast of the debate at this link.

The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any. - Alice Walker
— Revolutionary Quotes (@QuoteRevolution) March 7, 2015

Obviously, the GOP wants to psych out Minority and elderly voters to disenfranchise them. We don't have to let this happen.


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

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