Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Monday, March 28, 2016

Today's GOP AZLeg Dog and Pony Show on the Presidential Primary Election debacle

The discontent was more than palpable today at the GOP-controlled Arizona Legislature's hearing on last week's Presidential Preference Election debacle.

People from all over the country and perhaps all over the world watched Michelle Ugenti-Rita's Dog and Pony show. See for yourself.

A friend in New York City watched the hearing and said Ugenti sounded tough. It's ALL an act. And the stooge calling the names of the next people to testify was J.D. Mesnard.

For perspective, I give you this tweet,
My friend Laura disappoints me grievously because she won't listen to sound reasoning about the Democratic Presidential candidates. But she's on the mark with this tweet.

At 13 minutes into the video (you can FF if you want), Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Larkin, responding to comments by Air Force veteran Dean Palmer's testimony, calls attention to recent legislation, already signed into law (HB2023, sponsored ONLY by the person chairing this hearing). It's a bill for which this committee chair is responsible, which makes it a felony to assist a voter in turning in early ballots. A voting law and procedure change that would not have been possible before SCOTUS nullified Voting Rights Act preclearance.


Arizona Republic editorial columnist Elvia Diaz wrote today about the well-orchestrated plan to keep Arizona Latinos from voting.
To some, forcing voters to wait five hours to cast a ballot in last Tuesday’s Arizona presidential primary was merely the result of a colossal bureaucratic mistake [ed. I would consider the term clusterfuck (aka "Charlie Foxtrot") to be a more fair characterization] by incompetent Maricopa County election officials led by Helen Purcell.
But many others view it as part of a well-orchestrated plan by Republicans to keep minorities out of the election process. It’s a plan that has been slowly and powerfully moving through the political and court system, and which led to the dismantling in 2013 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
Specifically, a provision of that act required Arizona and eight other states to get federal approval before changing election laws. Without that legal hurdle, Purcell, the county’s top election official, easily cut the number of polling places from 200 in 2008 to only 60.

Everyone casting a ballot Tuesday was affected by the long lines. But those in the poor and predominantly minority areas were particularly hit hard. How the 60 polling sites were allocated is at the heart of the outcry from Latinos and others who see this as a deliberate move to suppress their vote.
“You can conclude that Helen (Purcell) and everyone in her office suddenly grew massive invasive stupid cells in their brains. Conspiracy of the suddenly very stupid?” wrote former state legislator turned activist Alfredo Gutierrez.
A more legitimate question is: Was this part of the larger Republican national strategy to suppress the vote? I believe that is more likely than the "stupid Helen theory.” [...]
An analysis by The Arizona Republic shows that polling sites were sparse in poorer areas of west Phoenix, Glendale and the southwest Valley. 
The Justice Department should investigate, and most importantly, find ways to keep a watchful eye on Arizona.
It will require an act of Congress to revive a version of the Voting Rights Act, but given that Republicans are in control, that’s unlikely to happen.
Even so, advocates must keep on pressing Uncle Sam to get involved and they need to rally support from moderate Republicans in Arizona to put the brakes on the deliberate campaign against the 1.9 million Hispanics in Arizona and the nearly 300,000 Native Americans. [...]
Advocates and academics have documented concrete examples of discrimination against minority voters since statehood to the March 22 Republican and Democratic presidential preference elections. Those in power have adeptly used cultural and language barriers as a weapon. For instance, in the early 1900s, Arizona enacted its first English literacy test.
“The literacy test was enacted to limit ‘the ignorant Mexican vote’ … As recently as the 1960s, registrars applied the test to reduce the ability of Blacks, Indians and Hispanics to register to vote,” according to historian David R. Berman.
If you think about it, little has changed throughout Arizona’s history. Conservatives have incessantly targeted minorities and typically intensify their efforts during economic recessions or political turmoil.
During the past decade, Arizona lawmakers have gone after Latinos in various ways, including approving anti-immigrant bills that affected not only those living here illegally but their American-citizen relatives who can vote. 
They’ve approved laws designed to make it harder for Latinos and Native Americans to vote by requiring ID at the polls. Many Native Americans, for instance, don’t have a house or street address, which makes it difficult to register or show at the polls with a form of ID
It will take all Latinos voters to cast a ballot to change Arizona’s discriminatory attitudes, and that is what make conservatives most afraid.

Digressing to the headline for this post, the upside is that this story is going national and viral. The downside is that the GOP-controlled legislature will do everything it can think of to tamp down the consternation without making any substantive changes in funding or administration of elections.

You know, the way the Clinton campaign gives lip service to standing up for the rights of working class Americans, while maintaining her allegiance to her corporate special interest owners.

The bottom line is that if we keep the pressure up, the GOP in Arizona will ultimately cave.


And as far as corporate media pushing -- including by explicitly calling for Bernie to drop out of the race and acting as if Hillary has already won --  the likelihood is rapidly increasing that history will repeat itself.


Guess which Helen Purcell and Karen Osborne were in charge of Maricopa County Elections in 2004 when John Dougherty wrote this investigative story?

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