HB2305 is based on inconsistent accusations

13 Aug 2013 12:38 pm
Posted by: Donna

Monday’s Arizona Capitol Times (yes, still behind a paywall, shut up) explains the “catalyst” of HB 2305, the voter suppression omnibus bill that opponents are gathering signatures to overturn in a referendum. The instigating event that led to the provision in HB 2305 that bars groups from collecting mail-in ballots and bringing them to the election center was this:

Because the volunteer used her maiden name, and because Valenzuela has worked for the Maricopa County Elections Department for almost 23 years and recognized the political clipboard, he couldn’t help but ask the visitor what he was doing.

The man, who was in his early 20s, said he “worked for elections” and he was checking if they had received early ballots.

It was Saturday, and Valenzuela was wearing his Maricopa County Elections Department shirt around the house. When he tried to call attention to this shirt, the young man didn’t get the hint. So Valenzuela told him straight up that he worked for the Maricopa County Elections Department and he had never seen the man around.

So the visitor backtracked on his statement, explaining that he was volunteering for a political organization helping with the election by registering people to vote. He then quickly left.

But a few months later, just before the November election, Valenzuela was again at home, and there was a knock at the door. His wife answered. She then went into the living room to ask Valenzuela what someone from the Elections Department was doing picking up ballots on a Saturday.

They weren’t, he told her. The Elections Department doesn’t pick up ballots.

Valenzuela, who is actually the Assistant Director of the Maricopa County Elections Department, went on to say that he didn’t call the cops on either volunteer because he “didn’t see any malice in their intentions”. Lucky for them, since impersonating an elections official is already a felony. It appears that what happened was simply a matter of insufficient training and overeager volunteers. There’s no need to pass an entirely new law prohibiting people from freely choosing to give their ballot to individuals or groups they trust because of it.

The Cap Times piece interviewed Jonathan Paton, who is heading up the pro-HB 2305 effort.

“They literally control thousands of ballots, when they deliver, if they deliver them. Are they combing through the ballots and finding out this guy is probably going to vote the wrong way, so maybe we’ll just forget to take his ballot to the polls,” he said.

Riiiiight. Groups supporting Democratic candidates are going into Democratic-heavy communities, collecting votes from Democrats and not turning them in because, yeah, that makes sense. This is, of course, a competing and contradictory claim to the one made by Republican legislators supporting HB 2305, such Sen. Kimberly Yee. Yee said “I know voter fraud is real” upon seeing a box of ballots that Citizens for a Better Arizona had brought to the elections department, suggesting that CBA brought in fraudulent ballots. So why then would groups need to “forget” to bring certain ballots in if they can just forge them all? HB 2305 backers are not even remotely logically consistent in their attempts to place nanny state intrusions on free association.


  1. Comment by todd on August 13, 2013 4:11 pm

    the only real question is if these pols are that stupid to believe this nonsense or whether they are just lying.

  2. Comment by Hank on August 14, 2013 10:32 am

    We put it in front of the paywall for yall.

  3. Comment by Mike Slater on August 14, 2013 3:39 pm

    Let’s just have everyone go to the polls to vote and show ID. Problem solved.

  4. Comment by Donna on August 15, 2013 2:47 am

    Thanks, Hank!

  5. Comment by Greg Jones on August 15, 2013 11:05 am

    I call BS on Valenzuela’s story. First of all, I’ve heard elections officials repeat a different version of the story over the past few months to justify support of HB 2305. The story told then was of a single encounter and when Valenzuela told the guy at his door that he worked for MC Elections, the person immediately took off running. His story has now morphed into one of two separate encounters with a lengthy conversation and lots of details. More importantly, it is bogus on its face. The fact is, early ballots are mailed 26 days prior to the election. Valenzuela’s tall tale of a guy impersonating an election official a few days after ballots had been mailed and another visit “SEVERAL MONTHS LATER”, just before the election, is impossible and false. Just as lacking in credibility is his explanation that he (a top MC Elections deputy) didn’t see fit to report to law enforcement two separate incidents of individuals impersonating an election official, a class 5 felony. No big deal then but now it’s a primary reason to impose restrictive burdens on AZ voters and activists! This story is quite troubling and is apparently a preview of the type of dirty tricks we will be seeing by opponents of the referendum drive to stop HB 2305.

  6. Comment by Donna on August 15, 2013 11:33 am

    I hear ya, Greg, but I decided to take the story at face value. If Valenzuela didn’t call the cops then I can only assume nothing illegal happened.

  7. Comment by Thucydides on August 19, 2013 11:12 pm

    You could tell very quickly if voter fraud took place, if they opened the ballots and tampered with them. This is what you would observe – massive over voting for Sinema, Barber and Kirkpatrick relative to the state level democratic candidates. Easy enoughstatistical test to perform.

  8. Comment by Donna on August 22, 2013 9:03 am

    IIRC, Sinema got slightly fewer votes than Obama did in CD9. And Carmona won CD9, though I’m not sure how Sinema did relative to him.

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