The legal team under the Democratic Party’s top election lawyer, Marc Elias, is suing to keep Arizona’s voter rolls as they are, even if they’re rife with ineligible voters.
According to a lawsuit filed on Monday, the legal team argued that SB1260, which Governor Doug Ducey signed into law in June, infringed on the right to vote as well as the rights of free speech and association. SB1260 requires county recorders to cancel voter registrations for persons registered to vote in another county, and makes it a felony to help cast a vote for an individual registered out of state.
Elias’ team claimed that SB1260’s language made it too easy for individuals or organizations to petition for the cancellation of voter registrations en masse. They asserted repeatedly throughout their complaint that it’s common for voters to have active registrations in more than one county, or even state.
“Though voting in more than one state is illegal, it is perfectly legal to be registered to vote in more than one state or more than one county in Arizona. In fact, it is quite common,” argued the lawyers.
Additionally, Elias’ team expressed a lack of confidence in the ability of county officials to cancel voter registrations upon request. They insisted that people who move frequently would be burdened by the new election integrity law.
“Being registered to vote in more than one state or county is not prohibited, and for good reason,” argued the lawyers. “People do not ordinarily think to affirmatively cancel their voter registration when they move, and there often is no obvious or easy way to do so. Nor is there any assurance that a jurisdiction will actually cancel a voter’s registration immediately upon receiving a request.”
Elias’ firm filed suit on behalf of the Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans, Voto Latino, and Priorities USA against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Attorney General Mark Brnovich, and all county recorders. Elias Law Group attorneys Aria Branch, Daniel Cohen, and Joel Ramirez joined Phoenix-based Roy Herrera of the Herrera Arellano firm to file the lawsuit.
Elias’ team posited that the felony provision of SB1260 would criminalize voter registration efforts made by the three plaintiff organizations, or even by a voter’s parents in the case of college students.
Elias offers updates on this and other election-related court cases via his media platform established in 2020, Democracy Docket.
Another lawsuit was filed on Monday challenging a separate election law in Arizona, HB2492 which requires individuals to provide proof of citizenship when registering to vote. The Biden administration filed a similar lawsuit against the state early last month. The Scottsdale-based firm Papetti Samuels Weiss McKirgan and Washington, D.C.-based firm WilmerHale filed the latest lawsuit on behalf of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Arizona Democratic Party.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake accused the media of “getting caught up in a bunch of BS stories” while ignoring her proposed policies.
Lake issued her remarks during a press conference on Monday to discuss her solutions for Arizona’s homelessness crisis. She asserted that the mainstream media outlets invited to the press conference hadn’t bothered to cover her proposed policies on issues important to Arizonans. Lake added a claim that her opponent, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, doesn’t have a homelessness crisis policy.
“The media in this town doesn’t care about the issues, they only care about bogus stories,” said Lake.
Hobbs has issued public statements promising to mitigate homelessness, but her policy proposals on her campaign website don’t discuss homelessness.
Lake said that her proposed solution for homelessness was similar to a model employed by the Opportunity Center in Tucson.
Lake noted that the homeless population has doubled in several years’ time. She insisted that current homelessness policies, like those proposed by Phoenix city leadership, have become an industry. Under Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, the city developed a plan in 2020 that included provisions to aid the homeless’ qualify of life, such as a Heat Relief Program that provides heat escapes for the homeless through shade structures and “heat relief buses” that offer air conditioning and water.
Gallego’s plan also incorporates encampment cleanups; however, as AZ Free News reported last week, residents aren’t seeing the results. 19 community members sued the city for failure to address the squalor of burgeoning encampments in the downtown area.
If elected, Lake promised that no state funds would go into programs that didn’t show results.
“I don’t believe for one second that God envisioned for us to be living in despair on the street with a needle in our arm,” said Lake.
Lake’s claims prompted a heated exchange with a prominent GOP critic, 12 News reporter Brahm Resnick.
Resnick asked Lake if she’d read any of the local media coverage on homelessness. Lake responded that she wasn’t talking about media coverage in general, but was concerned about the nature of media coverage of her and its avoidance of her solutions, such as for the homelessness crisis. Resnick observed that the media was there to cover her policies.
“We cover [homelessness] all the time. So is it all about you? All about your policy?” asked Resnick.
Lake retorted that Resnick’s approach to news was the reason for his low viewership. That triggered Resnick to offer Lake a sarcastic congratulations.
Resnick later retweeted commentary on the press conference calling Lake a “fraud.”
Christine Accurso is one mother helping a coalition of parents fight a 2024 ballot initiative to undo Arizona’s recent universalization of school choice. That group, AZ Decline to Sign, hopes to prevent Arizona families from losing access to up to $6,500 in educational funds through the state’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) Program.
The organization behind the ballot initiative, Save Our Schools Arizona (SOSAZ), is also made up of parents, as well as teachers and community organizers. They’re supported by the Arizona Education Association (AEA), the state’s primary teachers union.
Accurso appeared on the “Conservative Circus” radio show to discuss the AZ Decline to Sign countermovement. She insisted that SOSAZ was shopping two major lies to Arizona voters.
Accurso said that SOSAZ’s claim that the ESA Program universalization would take $1 billion from public schools wasn’t true for two main reasons: first, that parents choose where to apply their school choice funding, and second, that public schools still receive other taxpayer funds even if they lose out on ESA Program monies.
“They have been pushing lies to everyone to get them to sign a petition to be able to refer this to the ballot,” said Accurso. “No money leaves the public school unless the parent removes the child from the school to choose an ESA. They still get all the federal and local tax dollars — it’s just a portion of the tax dollars.”
Accurso said that the other lie was that SOSAZ represented parents’ interests.
“We elected our legislature and our governor and we asked them for this [school choice] bill as parents,” said Accurso.
SOSAZ’s ballot initiative “Stop Voucher Expansion” which mischaracterizes Arizona’s ESA Program as “vouchers.”
Arizona’s school choice funds are education scholarship accounts. Vouchers are education funds awarded for use at private schools only, whereas education scholarship account funds may be applied to a variety of options, like tutoring.
Arizona’s Democratic leadership has expressed support for the SOSAZ initiative. Most recently, Senator Martín Quezada (D-Glendale), also mischaracterizing Arizona’s school choice funds as “vouchers,” claimed that allowing parents to apply those funds at their discretion was a practice lacking oversight at best, and rooted in racism at worst.
The SOSAZ ballot initiative has also garnered the support of 2024 state legislative candidate and Arizona Democratic Party leader Brianna Westbrook, a gender dysphoric man previously named Mike McDanel.
The ESA Program universalization takes effect on September 24.
On Monday, Governor Doug Ducey announced that the border wall gap near Yuma, Arizona was closed. That section of the wall resembles more of a wall than the border fencing elsewhere: rather than slats, the state installed double-stacked cargo shipping containers welded together and lined at the top with razor wire standing 4 feet tall.
Each double-stacked shipping container block weighs 17,600 pounds and stands 44 feet tall without the razor wire. The new Yuma border wall section spans 1,000 feet. The state plans on filling three gaps totaling 3,000 feet in the coming weeks.
As AZ Free News reported, Ducey signed an Executive Order on Friday to finish the border wall. Ducey’s action occurred several hours before the U.S. Consulate issued a “shelter in place” advisory for Americans residing in Tijuana, Mexico. On Thursday, at least 11 people were killed amid a fight between factions of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The Friday advisory followed another, similar advisory from several days prior, marking another week of cartel violence in Mexico.
In his original announcement, Ducey declared that the Biden administration’s lack of urgency was a “dereliction of duty.”
Ducey said that the Tijuana violence prompted the immediate action to finish the border wall.
Ducey’s action far outpaced that of the Biden administration.
At the end of last month, the White House promised to finish the border wall. However, agency rules concerning environmentalism protocols, or “environmental stewardship reviews,” will likely delay that project by well over a year.
That could prove to be a snag for Ducey, who undertook construction without federal permission.
Earlier this month, Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) data revealed that hard drugs topped marijuana for drug busts along the border for the first time ever.
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels shared with radio host James T. Harris of “Conservative Circus” that the fentanyl crisis is a direct result of Biden’s border crisis. Dannels said that Arizona had over 5 million fentanyl dosage seizures in 2021, beating out all other states including California.
“They know exactly what’s going on. These are intelligent people. They just don’t care. This is intellectual avoidance at its worst. It’s almost like ‘American Second’ on our southern borders,” said Dannels.
Dannels added that the county has taken back some control, noting that the county jailed 617 individuals associated with border crimes from January to July. Dannels noted that so far, they’ve handled nearly 300 recognized victims of border-related crimes.
Dannels also lamented the number of illegal immigrant deaths that occurred. Since January, 126 illegal immigrants have died attempting to cross the border.
In similar remarks, Ducey blamed the Biden administration for giving cartels more power.
The governor’s remarks were part of a series of statements deriding the Biden administration for its inaction. Ducey declared that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has a “defeatist attitude” that worsens the border crisis.