By Sergio Arellano
Virtually since it was first announced, the effort by the Arizona State Senate to audit the results of the November general election in Arizona’s largest County has been mocked or vilified by members of the media and assorted partisan figures. There is little doubt that their initial attacks were designed to thwart an audit, and there is little doubt that most of the effort since then has been to discredit the process and its participants to the maximum degree possible. When I talk to political people, there is a consensus that this has been a deliberate sabotage in an effort to discredit any potential findings before they are disclosed. “Convince the voters in advance that the whole thing is a joke, and they won’t believe it if something real is turned up by the audit.” said one to me recently.
The entire state would be well served if everyone would take a deep breath, refrain from turning the effort into a partisan circus, and waited for any findings and supporting evidence.
In the meantime, let’s give credit where credit is due, to Senate President Karen Fann and State Senator Warren Petersen, both of whom continue to make themselves available to a media that is looking to undercut them, while providing reasoned answers in measured tones.
As someone who has dealt with a hostile media, I know how difficult it is to not get sucked into the insults and childish behavior. But that is often a tactic used by reporters who know that their own behavior will not be a part of the story, only the responses to their behavior. So they goad and wait, and too many elected officials fall for it. As a result we have the public spectacle of Republicans firing away at other Republicans in an increasingly personal way, just like the media wants.
Fann and Petersen know when to respond and how, and the points they make are generally fair and on target. The Senate has a responsibility and is acting on that responsibility. Opposition is largely partisan in origin and passionate objections to legitimate concerns come mostly from those who spent years insisting that Congress spends tens of millions of dollars investigating a Russia hoax that they got daily updates on from their MSNBC shows. Fann and Petersen recognize this hypocrisy and have kept focused on the audit itself, the need to do it right, and the importance of getting as many facts gathered as possible before conclusions are reached.
The audit will show that everything was largely done right, or it will show meaningful problems or weaknesses in systems that need to be corrected. Both outcomes are victories for Arizona voters, even though some will claim victory and insist it is a defeat for others. If all was well then that’s obviously good news. If corrections need to be made, then the fact that they were identified and can be fixed for future elections is also good news. We all benefit from a system that strives for perfection and is checked for improvements.
If you want Election Integrity, accurate and legitimate elections, and a process that every voter can largely trust, then you’re on the side of an accurate and professionally done audit that produces verifiable results. I for one, am more than willing to patiently wait for the process to work, and I’d encourage every Arizonan to do the same.
Sergio Arellano was born and raised in Tucson, AZ. He joined the Army at the age of 17 and served his country honorably as an Infantryman and Human Resources Specialist for a total of 10 and a half years before retiring from the military due to combat sustained injuries.
Sergio is a founding member of the Arizona International Consortium, the Santa Cruz County Elections Integrity Committee, and the first ever AZGOP Latino Coalition. Sergio is also credited with establishing Arizona’s first ever cultural exchange agreements between the Arizona Republican Party and some of Mexico’s prominent political parties.