More than 100,000 Arizona voters on the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL) have not voted by early ballot in the past four years.
Think about that for a moment. These are people who asked to be on the PEVL but are choosing not to use the system. Not only does this waste taxpayers like you money by sending out unwanted ballots, but it compromises the integrity of our elections.
If someone isn’t using the system, they shouldn’t continue to receive an early ballot by mail. Thankfully, the Arizona Senate addressed the PEVL on Tuesday by passing SB1485, a bill sponsored by Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-LD23). And predictably, as the bill heads to the Arizona House, Democrats are losing their minds. While most of them are mischaracterizing this bill as “voter suppression,” others have called it a “full-on assault on Democracy,” and Representative Athena Salman (D-LD26) couldn’t help but label it as “racist.”
But while Arizona Democrats proceeded to hurl unhinged attacks and insults at proponents of the legislation, it’s important to look at what this bill actually does. And it’s not that complicated.
SB1485 simply changes the name of the list from the PEVL to the Early Voting List (EVL). That means voters can continue to vote early and by mail as long as they are on the list. But if an individual doesn’t vote by early ballot in both the primary election and the general election for two consecutive cycles, he or she will receive a notice from their county recorder. Failure to respond to the notice means the voter will be removed from the list.
As you can see, this isn’t some sinister conspiracy like Democrats are making it out to be.
There’s nothing in the bill that prevents a voter from being placed back on the list. And it certainly has no impact on someone’s voter registration status.
However, Democrats would rather cry wolf about “voter suppression” and “racism” instead of recognizing that this is a bill that should be embraced by all parties. Is it because they know they stand to benefit from outdated voter rolls or a deeply flawed mail-in voting system?
More than likely, that’s the case.
The fact is that distrust in this past November’s election remains high. And mail-in voting is more prone to mistake, mishap, and mischief. But that doesn’t mean it should be eliminated. Mail-in voting is popular in Arizona, and SB1485 allows for it to continue. But additional security measures are necessary to protect this method of voting.
Once fraud is in the election system, it is extremely difficult to prove and root out. Cleaning up voter rolls by ensuring the EVL is kept up to date by removing deceased persons, citizens who have moved to another state, duplicate voter files, and anyone who isn’t actively using the system is critically important.
While more steps are needed to improve election integrity through the state, SB1485 is a step in the right direction. Now, it’s up to the House to pass this crucial piece of legislation.
We have become well acquainted with the autocratic, unchecked power of Big Tech and their censorship. It was just last month that the President of the United States was deplatformed from every social media platform – once one pulled the trigger, the dominos fell and within hours President Trump was removed from the internet.
Poland is considering bold actions against the unchecked power multi-billion dollar corporations have obtained in deciding what speech is acceptable and what is not, comparing the actions of these platforms to what they experienced during the communist era. Here in America, where freedom of speech is understood as a fundamental, inalienable right of a free people, Big Tech takes advantage of their section 230 protections, while continuing to censor, deplatform, or shadow ban users with whom they disagree, garnering outrage from politicians, but no action.
Beyond their deplatforming, shadow banning and censorship, the 2020 election gave rise to a new influence Big Tech has in our democracy with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg alone giving hundreds of millions to election offices to influence or change the way local elections offices conducted the election.
The idea that Zuckerberg and Big Tech would give away their millions simply out of the goodness of their heart to protect democracy without trying to exert influence for one candidate or ideology is at the least questionable. And we need not simply theorize about their plan, corporations are outright bragging about their master plan of coordinating the results of the election now that it is over:
“Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time.”
One focus of this election influence is the Center for Technology and Civic Life (CTCL) which in 2018 spent a mere $1.4 million, but in 2020 received over $350 million from Zuckerberg and his wife alone. This influence was seen throughout the country – right here in Arizona too.
Capital Research has looked into CTCL and found that it spent $5 million in Arizona, $3 million of which went to Maricopa County led by Democrat County Recorder Adrian Fontes – essentially the electorally decisive county. And what happened in Maricopa County? Though Trump went from 590,465 votes in 2016 to 995,665 in 2020, he lost the county to Biden who somehow doubled Clinton’s 2016 performance, receiving 1,040,774 votes in 2020. This equaled $1.80 from the CTCL per Biden vote in Maricopa County.
But what kind of effect did Big Tech money, and especially Zuckerberg and the CTCL, actually have? It’s just as the Times article brags – “they got states to change voting systems and laws…” In Wisconsin, the Zuckerberg backed grant stipulated the submittal to CTCL and implementation of the “Wisconsin Safe Voting Plan” circumventing the role of the legislature and other elected bodies in the development of elections procedures. In Pennsylvania, the grants aided in the placement of a ballot drop box every four-square miles or for every 4,000 voters in Democrat strongholds compared to one drop box every 1,100 square miles or for every 72,000 voters in Republican strongholds.
This is the new Big Tech censorship. Though not removing someone from their platform, they drown out conservative votes by giving money to elections offices to drive up turnout in select locations while ignoring others. This creates a two-tier election system suppressing the turnout of voters Zuckerberg doesn’t like.
The left has complained about the role of money in elections. The hundreds of millions spent at local elections offices wasn’t philanthropy, it was a strategic investment with an expected return. The best approach to ensuring election integrity is a proactive one, but this election is over and we can’t go back, so it is time that states pass strong legislation prohibiting private, outside funding of election offices. Even the appearance of impropriety in elections is dangerous, so elections should be funded, directed, and guided by state governments not private organizations and especially not Big Tech.
Though the November 2020 election is over and the results a foregone conclusion, the pervasive distrust of the U.S. elections system continues to linger. After all, when voters are given $25 gift cards in exchange for their votes like they were in Nevada, a judge is caught taking bribes to stuff the ballot box in Philadelphia, and a woman is hired in California to run voter registration drives and is caught forging signatures and changing their party affiliations, there should be a consensus that voter fraud is real.
Something needs to be done. And though Arizona may not be the worst offender, our state still has plenty to do to improve our elections and rebuild trust.
The Arizona legislature has convened once again, and Republican lawmakers have seemed to hear their voters loud and clear – address election integrity and address it now. Dozens of bills have been introduced, attacking reform from different angles and reacting to the frustrations of Arizona voters in November. With so many competing ideas, it is necessary to prioritize reforms that offer the greatest security to our election system and are feasible to implement.
For the legislature to claim victory on election integrity for the 2021 legislative session, they must focus their reforms in four key areas:
- Maintain Clean and Current Voter Rolls
Once fraud is in the election system, it is extremely difficult to prove and root out. Ensuring voter rolls only contain current, legal residents who are qualified to vote is critically important. Currently, there is no standardization across all 15 Arizona counties to scrub voter lists of deceased persons, citizens who have changed residency, or duplicative voter files. Equally important is an independent audit of this practice to ensure it is actually being done. Though legislators may trust every county recorder to follow the law, good policy ensures verification.
- Protect Mail-In Ballots
Mail-in voting is inherently more vulnerable to mistake, mishap, and mischief. Due to the delay and distance of a voter receiving their ballot and the tabulation of that ballot, extra security measures are necessary to protect this method of voting.
No doubt, early mail-in voting is popular in Arizona and efforts to eliminate the system are impractical and unnecessary. However, additional verification for early mail-in ballots is a good idea and lawmakers should focus reform in this area.
- Ensure Legislative Oversight
Election integrity is a matter of statewide concern and therefore is a legislative concern. Many Arizona voters were understandably frustrated at how seemingly little power the legislature had to intervene and require an audit of the 2020 election results.
Not only should election procedures be standardized across all counties in Arizona, but the legislature needs to be empowered to oversee election practices, results, and compliance.
- Prohibit Outside Influence
In the past, election officers have been permitted to use internal or external resources to sway the outcome of an election. These practices aren’t illegal, but they should be. Whether that is using taxpayer money to target voter registration activities, using third party lists to target potential voters, or accepting money from outside organizations with a political agenda, this must be eliminated. Curing voter distrust includes ensuring government can’t put their thumb on the scale of election results.
Election integrity is a top priority of Republicans at the legislature this year. But success will not be measured by the volume of election integrity bills that get passed, but by their quality. Bills concentrated in each of these areas of reform will help improve the credibility, transparency, and security of our elections.
Lea Márquez Peterson was elected to the Arizona Corporation Commission this past November, running as a Republican. But it didn’t take long before she threw the 1.4 million people who voted for her completely under the bus.
Earlier this week, in a surprise move, Márquez Peterson voted for herself to serve as chair of the five-member commission. And who do you think voted with her to ensure she won the top seat? Democrats Sandra Kennedy and Anna Tovar.
In this position, Márquez Peterson will set meeting agendas, run meetings, and set the overall tone of the commission. But normally, the role of chair goes to the person who has served the longest, which in this case would have been Conservative Republican Justin Olson.
But not this year.
Apparently, Márquez Peterson made a New Year’s resolution to gain more power and control. But at what cost? And what kind of deal did Márquez Peterson make with the Democrats to gain such a position?
A “Green New Deal” perhaps?
The role of the Arizona Corporation Commission is to set rates and policies for utilities. And right now, the commission is in the process of developing a “clean energy” plan that looks to ban fossil fuels by 2050. In essence, they are trying to pass the Green New Deal right here in Arizona. And who do you think has served as a key swing vote to drive such measures? Lea Márquez Peterson.
A Green New Deal in Arizona would mean less reliability, higher rates, and millions of corporate welfare dollars going to special interest groups. But that’s not all…
You can also expect to see more California-style blackouts just like this past summer. Do you remember those?
In August 2020, California’s electricity grid was under an immense strain. And because of that, the state instituted its first intentional rolling blackouts since 2001. And the state’s residents were also asked to conserve electricity during a significant heatwave this past summer.
Now, imagine that possibility when it’s 110 degrees in Phoenix. And imagine being forced to pay more money out of your pocket for it.
If “Green New Deal” Lea gets her way, that’s where we’re headed.
But perhaps she doesn’t care that she betrayed every Republican that voted for her this past November. Perhaps she’s ok with it, so she can have more power, control, and whatever else the Democrats have promised her.
Lea Márquez Peterson sold out. And now the people of Arizona live under threat of the Green New Deal passing.
Somewhere, Bernie Sanders and AOC must be smiling.
Fresh off the heels of a ten-hour public forum in which several Arizona lawmakers and President Trump’s legal team—led by attorney Rudy Giuliani—discussed potential irregularities and fraud with the Presidential election results, State leadership is facing extreme pressure to hold a formal legislative hearing and overturn the certification of the 2020 elections in Arizona.
There are several key takeaways lawmakers and patriots alike should consider from the events that have transpired as we chart a path to move forward.
- Confidence in our Election System is Precarious
The fact is approximately half of the American population has lost faith in our election system. This is a democratic crisis that left unattended will irreparably damage our republic.
Regardless of the scope or degree election fraud played in the outcome of the 2020 Presidential election, only a comprehensive review and debate on a state-by-state basis will uncover these facts and, more importantly, mend the broken fidelity between millions of voters and the promise of free and fair elections.
Calls for action by leaders such as Congressman Andy Biggs to conduct a full audit are appropriate and dire. As the states most under scrutiny – Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona—move forward on the certification process, they owe it to the public to investigate every aspect of how the elections were executed and make these proceedings and findings available for public consumption. Full transparency is critical.
2. Election Fraud is Real
Election fraud occurs. It has been well documented. Whether that takes the form of holding raffles and giving away gift cards in exchange for votes in Nevada, ballot harvesting in North Carolina, or a Judge caught taking bribes to stuff the ballot box in Philadelphia, election fraud exists and is a real problem.
Yet despite decades of evidence, it has been irritating to watch the media, which trafficked absurd Russian collusion conspiracy theories, election “hacking” claims by the Clintons and lionized Stacey Abrams, now harrumphing anyone that raises concerns about voter fraud. Legacy media should be the last people questioning the credibility of election fraud concerns when they have zero credibility themselves.
So as the process moves forward, the Club believes the Trump campaign has a right to and should exhaust all legal remedies to investigate and review the results of the 2020 election.
3. Election Integrity Reforms are Needed
In the last few years, Arizona has taken some steps to reduce the more nefarious methods of voter fraud. A ban on ballot harvesting (which Democrats at the time claim didn’t exist), reducing the abuse of “emergency” voting centers and enhanced voter ID laws have improved the process.
However, Arizona still has work to do, and additional reforms must be prioritized by the legislature. Areas of reform include additional transparency and oversight on vote tabulation, Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) fixes and enhanced scrubbing of our voter rolls to remove non-eligible voters from our lists.
Election integrity continues to be a priority for the Club and we support legislative efforts that improve the credibility, transparency and security of our elections. This year’s session will no doubt be ripe for many of these reforms that have failed to pass in recent years.
4. Conservatives Must Continue to Fight
Arizona has some work to do to improve our elections systems. However, concerns over election fraud cannot be used as an excuse to not engage politically or ignore that Democrats have made gains in the state. The thinning Republican majorities at the legislature have not been garnered through vote rigging. Irrespective of the 2020 election outcome, our focus must be on building our movement and growing our numbers so that we can win outside the margin of cheating.
And above all else, we MUST continue to fight. Right now, Donald Trump’s campaign team is in Georgia to help Kelly Loeffler and David Purdue win their races and retain the Senate Majority. In fact, Donald Trump himself is planning a visit to the state this weekend, despite concerns over voter fraud. If Trump is not throwing in the towel, then neither should conservatives.
While public attention has been on the highly charged speculations of the Presidential race, voters in 17 states throughout the country were asked to vote on a variety of tax measures at the ballot box.
The results of these measures were fascinating to say the least, especially the results in typically blue states that are generally favorable to higher taxes.
Despite Biden’s incessant promise to undo Trump’s tax cuts, voters in the country’s most liberal states rebuffed proposals to increase taxes across the board.
It is a well-known fact that these traditionally high-tax states have driven droves of citizens and businesses to lower-tax states such as Arizona, Texas and Utah in the past decade. Except for measures to increase taxes on marijuana, tobacco, and other drugs, ironically, Arizona is the only state this election to pass the same economically ruinous policies blue states are now trying to undo.
Illinois voted on a measure to eliminate their Constitutional flat income tax system and institute a progressive, soak the rich system, which failed by a wide margin of 10 points. Opposition to this change was realistically much higher than even 55 percent because in Illinois a Constitutional amendment can be ratified with a simple majority and voters who leave the question blank count as an affirmative for the measure!
California too, asked voters to increase taxes in the form of removing a cap on property taxes for commercial owners. Like Arizona’s Prop 208, California’s Proposition 15 would have constituted the largest tax increase in California’s history. Surprisingly, the measure has failed, leaving intact one of the shelters for California’s businesses.
Despite an oppositional education lobby and the proponents being outspent almost 2:1, Colorado’s voters passed a REDUCTION in their income tax by a margin of 15 PERCENT! Colorado’s flat tax system protects taxpayers from class warfare at the ballot box.
Even in Washington state that does not have an income tax – cutting taxes is popular. The legislature repealed four separate onerous taxes on businesses including a plastic bag tax. These changes were on voters’ ballots as “advisory votes” which allow the electorate to affirm or oppose tax changes made by the legislature – all were supported by the majority of voters. One of these measures was a repeal of a tax targeted at the aerospace industry which has threatened to send Boeing out of the evergreen state. Alaskan voters too saw the wisdom of not killing the golden goose, where voters could have passed a measure to raise a $1Billion by sticking it to the oil industry, but the proposal failed by an almost 30 percent spread.
These results are astounding. State and local economies have been pounded by the COVID19 shutdowns and there is almost universal acceptance that lower taxes on individuals and businesses will encourage growth and recovery. The failure of the left’s tax policies is apparent to even the die-hard leftists in the bluest states in the country. Their uncompetitive tax systems have driven away businesses and job-creators and hamstrung economic growth and they are now changing course.
After a decade of climbing out of the Great Recession, Arizona has rebuilt its economy by controlling spending, adopting competitive tax policies, and limiting regulatory burdens on businesses. That has led to thousands of new jobs, a more diversified economy and prosperity in the state which has allowed for over a $1Billion of new sustainable monies to flood the education system.
Proposition 208 undoes all this progress. Despite our state’s success story and liberal states trying to adopt our playbook, it looks like Arizona will have to learn the hard way.