Rep. Biggs Decries Biden’s Reliance on Leftist Polls to Decide School Masking Policy

Rep. Biggs Decries Biden’s Reliance on Leftist Polls to Decide School Masking Policy

By Corinne Murdock |

Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) decried the Biden administration’s reliance on leftist dark money network polling rather than science to determine school masking policy.

Government emails indicate that the CDC relied on polling from the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) to set school masking policy. KFF is a left-wing dark money group that receives much of its funding through Big Tech and Silicon Valley. America First Legal (AFL) uncovered this connection via documents obtained through its lawsuit against the CDC. 

Three days after top Biden administration officials received an email from KFF CEO and President Drew Altman that mandatory masking was a “political winner” for the majority of the country. 

Altman advised the officials that 63 percent of citizens favor school masking, the CDC recommended universal masking for all children two and up. Altman’s phrasing implied the familiarity of longtime colleagues or a trusted advisor, not communication between separate entities.  

“We have the scoop on the issue of the moment, masks in schools. A very solid majority favor school masking requirements (63 percent), with 36 percent opposing. That 36 percent is made up of the usual suspects and of course is large enough to make some trouble in parts of the country and generate news,” wrote Altman. “At this point in time, asking unvaccinated students/staff to wear masks in school is more broadly popular than vaccine mandates. Prohibitions against schools requiring masks (which seven states now have), may only be a political winner in deep-red communities.” 

The Biden administration’s apparent reliance on political advisors rather than scientific evidence would explain their reaction to the state’s attempts to dispel mandatory masking in schools.

Last year, Department of Education (ED) Secretary Miguel Cardona told Governor Doug Ducey that the state couldn’t use federal COVID-19 relief funds to reward mask-free schooling. In a response letter, Biggs accused Cardona of weaponizing the ED against states following scientific evidence.

Ducey sued the Biden administration for their attempt to recoup the relief funds, but the Arizona District Court dismissed the case in July for failure to state a claim. Ducey appealed the ruling. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals released the case (no. 22-16101, Ducey v. Yellen, et al) from its Mediation Program last month, meaning that the Biden administration and the state were unable to resolve their appeal. 

This set of documents revealing the Biden administration’s reliance on Big Tech to set policy is the third in AFL’s discovery of the two entities’ collusion. Earlier this summer, AFL uncovered documents revealing that the CDC and Big Tech worked together to censor alleged misinformation pertaining to COVID-19. In September, AFL advanced this discovery with further documents showing the CDC directing Facebook and Twitter to censor and punish dissidents. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

GOP Candidates Masters, Lake File to Keep Maricopa County Polls Open Until 10 PM

GOP Candidates Masters, Lake File to Keep Maricopa County Polls Open Until 10 PM

By Corinne Murdock |

As the end of Election Day drew near, Republican candidates Blake Masters (Senate) and Kari Lake (gubernatorial) filed an emergency motion in court to keep Maricopa County polls open until 10 pm. Polls close at 7 pm. 

The complaint cited that voters were convinced by poll workers to spoil (discard) their ballots or not vote at all. Reportedly, those voters convinced to spoil their ballots were erroneously told that they could again cast a vote at another location. 

“[N]umerous individuals presenting to vote at some or all of these locations were unlawfully induced by poll workers to discard their ballots or otherwise forfeit their opportunity to cast a legally sufficient vote,” stated the complaint. “Immediate judicial intervention is necessary to prevent irreparable injury to the Plaintiffs, vindicate the clear directives of the Arizona Legislature, ensure the fair and equal treatment of all Maricopa County electors guaranteed by the Arizona Constitution, and secure the integrity of the results of the November 8, 2022 general election.”

The lawsuit stated that at least 36 percent of all vote centers in Maricopa County experienced ballot tabulation machine failures — or, about 80 vote centers. That’s an increase from the noontime estimate given by Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, who said that about 60 vote centers, or 27 percent, were impacted by malfunctioning tabulators.

As AZ Free News reported Tuesday, it took officials eight hours to announce the potential cause for the tabulation failures: printer settings.

The Republican National Committee (RNC) and an individual, former state legislator and elector Jill Norgaard, joined in the petition. 

In addition to keeping vote centers open, the group also asked the court to suspend the public release of tabulated early ballot returns in the county until 11 pm. They also asked that polling inspectors allow voters to complete and cast a provisional ballot if they’re recorded as having already cast a vote. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Voting Machines Fail Across Maricopa County; 8 Hours Later, Officials Say Printer Settings the Issue

Voting Machines Fail Across Maricopa County; 8 Hours Later, Officials Say Printer Settings the Issue

By Corinne Murdock |

Maricopa County’s vote tabulators were intermittently malfunctioning on Election Day, prompting voter concern that ballots won’t be counted properly or at all.

The problem lasted well into the afternoon, around 8 hours, until the county said it believed it had found the cause of these mass failure: faulty printer settings. The county said it did test-run the machines ahead of the election. They assured voters that they would send technicians to the vote centers to fix the printer settings.

As of noon on Election Day, Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates reported to KTAR that 60 vote centers were hit with tabulator and printer problems out of the 223 centers across the county. Each vote center has two tabulators. 

The elections department advised voters to cast their ballots into a slot on the machine below the tabulator, where it would be stored until it could be counted manually at a later time.

We collected some testimonies of voters who say they experienced these malfunctioning tabulators. This is not an all-inclusive list, and results are quickly changing:

Anthem:

7:30 am – long lines caused by tabulators malfunctioning.

8 am – Anthem Outlets tabulators malfunctioning.

Cave Creek:

7:30 am – Cave Creek Town Hall tabulators were reportedly rejecting ballots.

8:30 am – Black Mountain Baptist Church and Cave Creek Town Hall locations were turning away voters.

9 am – Laestadian Lutheran Church reported that they had no equipment issues.

9:30 am – Poll workers informed voters that the tabulator issue had to do with how ballots are printed, and that only 1 in 5 ballots were accepted earlier in the day.

Gilbert:

8 am – Valor Christian Center voter said one machine wouldn’t accept ballots. 

9:30 am – Trilogy Power Ranch experienced no problems.

Goodyear:

8 am – Compass Church voter reported that her location had printing issues, prompting her to leave without her ballot scanned. 

Mesa:

9 am – Love of Christ Lutheran Church voter and Turning Point Action activist reported that only 1 in 15 ballots were read by the tabulators. One woman reportedly waited two hours until her ballot was read properly, while the husband had to spoil his ballot after seven failed attempts. 

10:15 am – Mesa Court House reported no issues, per our sources.

Peoria

2 pm – Journey Church voters reported their machines down. 

2 pm – Arrowhead Country Club voters reported their machines down.

Phoenix

6 am – Burton Barr Library became a ballot drop off site due to tabulation machine issues. An hour later, their check-in stations became operational. 

Scottsdale 

9:30 am – Unspecified location, voter had to run ballot through tabulator five times before it was read.

10:40 am – North Scottsdale United Methodist Church machines down, some left without votes counted while there.

Surprise

8 am – Asante Library voter reported their machines rejecting 90 percent of ballots.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer reported at 7:30 am Tuesday morning that over 23,000 people voted in person. 

Voters casting ballots at polling places experiencing tabulator issues have three options: stay to wait out the tabulators, drop their ballot in the tabulator slot for manual processing, or go to a nearby vote center.

Secretary of State and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs reassured voters that ballots deposited in drop boxes would be tabulated manually. 

At around 2 pm, Richer issued an apology for the mass failure of tabulator machines.

Ahead of Election Day, the Department of Justice (DOJ) deployed its Civil Rights Division forces to monitor polling places in Maricopa, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, and Yavapai counties on Tuesday to ensure no voting rights were violated.

Arizona wasn’t the only state to experience issues with voting machines. Voters in Texas, such as Bell County, reported that the machines wouldn’t allow people to vote at all. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Katie Hobbs Promises to Reopen Border Wall If Elected

Katie Hobbs Promises to Reopen Border Wall If Elected

By Corinne Murdock |

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs said she would remove the shipping containers closing up the border wall gaps if elected. Governor Doug Ducey closed the border gaps using shipping containers topped with razor wire in August; he refused the Biden administration’s demand last month that he remove them.

In an interview with KYMA, Hobbs called Ducey’s shipping containers nothing more than a “political stunt.” She insinuated that Ducey’s motive wasn’t so much to secure the border wall as to instigate a legal fight with the Biden administration. Hobbs indicated that the Biden administration had the border situation under control. 

“We need to work with the federal government to implement solutions that are right for Arizonans,” said Hobbs.

The shipping containers took 11 days and about $6 million to install. For well over a year in office, the Biden administration refused to add to the border wall. They spent an estimated $3 million every day to not complete the border wall under contracts set by former President Donald Trump, or around $2 billion in total.

Yet, Hobbs claimed in an NBC interview a little over a week ago that Arizonans were “tired of inaction at the border.” Hobbs implied that she would largely pass the border crisis buck onto the federal government. 

“[T]his is largely a federal issue,” said Hobbs. 

Unlike Hobbs, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake told KYMA that she would ignore the Biden administration’s request to remove the shipping containers. 

Lake’s campaign later remarked that Hobbs wanted no border wall at all. 

Hobbs’ endorsements from law enforcement included a prominent sheriff who denied the existence of the border crisis. Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway rejected Arizona National Guard assistance for his people last April. Hobbs said that Hathaway’s support as a border sheriff reflected her border policy. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Kari Lake Challenges Katie Hobbs to Denounce Politico Claims of Election Hackers

Kari Lake Challenges Katie Hobbs to Denounce Politico Claims of Election Hackers

By Corinne Murdock |

Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake challenged Democratic gubernatorial candidate Katie Hobbs to push back on a mainstream media warning of election hacking.

On Monday, the day before Election Day, Politico issued an article warning that hackers impose “real risks” to election equipment such as voting machines. They prefaced their warning with the disclosure that claims of voting machine hacks from the 2020 presidential election were invalid.

The Politico article stated that there were six potential threats to elections, five of which were related to cybersecurity: misinformation/disinformation, election office and campaign website crashers, campaign social media hijackers, voter registration database hackers, voter harassers, and wireless modem hackers. 

Only that last potential threat, the wireless modem hackers, could compromise election results by tampering with unofficial vote data, voting machine processing, or computer tallying. Politico assured readers that this type of cyberattack would be less likely to occur because it’s more difficult and time-consuming. Discovery of this type of cyberattack would only occur through paper ballot analysis and post-election audits. 

Tensions over Hobbs’ role overseeing the election as secretary of state in a highly contested race have grown over the last few weeks. Last Tuesday, Lake hired one of former President Donald Trump’s lawyers from the 2020 election lawsuits. 

As TIME reported, two former secretaries of state advised that Hobbs should grant election oversight to other officials. However, Hobbs’ office told TIME that she wouldn’t do so. 

Richard Mahoney, a Democrat, suggested that Attorney General Mark Brnovich or Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer assist Hobbs.

“I think it would be wise if the secretary of state seconded responsibility for ministerial oversight to either the attorney general or the Maricopa County recorder,” said Mahoney.

Ken Bennett, a Republican, suggested others within her office assume control. 

“She should recuse herself from the official acts that she would normally perform as secretary and let a deputy secretary or somebody else take care of those,” said Bennett. 

The latest polling favors Lake over Hobbs. According to FiveThirtyEight’s summary, Lake leads Hobbs by over two points. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Nikola In Pilot Testing With Walmart, SAIA As Founder Awaits Sentencing In Fraud Case

Nikola In Pilot Testing With Walmart, SAIA As Founder Awaits Sentencing In Fraud Case

By Terri Jo Neff |

Just weeks after its founder was convicted of federal fraud charges, Phoenix-based Nikola Corp. (NKLA) announced Third Quarter 2022 financial results showing higher than expected revenues and a narrower than expected quarterly loss.

On Thursday, Nikola Corp. reported revenues of $24.2 million, GAAP net loss per share of $0.54, and non-GAAP net loss per share of $0.28. The company also revealed it produced 75 heavy-duty Nikola Tre battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) at its plant in Coolidge, outpacing the 50 BEVs which came off the assembly line last quarter.  

Nikola also announced pilot testing of its Tre BEVs is underway with Walmart and SAIA, and that 63 of its trucks have been delivered to dealers.

“During the third quarter we continued to produce and deliver Nikola Tre BEVs to dealers and customers,” said new Nikola President, Michael Lohscheller. “We also made significant advancements in developing our energy business, announcing our intent to develop access of up to 300 metric-tons per day of hydrogen and up to 60 stations by 2026, and our collaboration with E.ON in Europe.”

Founded in late 2014 by Trevor Milton, Nikola seeks to transform the transportation industry by designing and manufacturing zero-emission BEVs  and hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). The company is also a leader in EV drivetrains, vehicle components, energy storage systems, and hydrogen station infrastructure.

As AZ Free News previously reported, Milton was stripped of any role in the company in 2020 following an investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission into allegations Milton repeatedly lied to investors, prospective investors, and the public about Nikola’s research and development progress as well as sales contracts in an effort to increase the company’s share price.

Then-CEO Mark Russell sought to move Nikola forward from the scandal, agreeing the company would pay a $125 million civil penalty to the SEC. Russell retired this summer, putting Nikola in the hands of Lohscheller, who previously served as CFO for several top automakers, including Mitsubishi Motors, Volkswagen Group USA, and German-based Opel/Vauxhall. Lohscheller was promoted in 2017 as CEO of Opel, where he helped plan the company’s move toward being an electric-only brand by the end of this decade.

Meanwhile, company officials fully cooperated with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New York which took Milton to trial Sept. 12 on four fraud charges.  The nearly month-long trial ended with the jury deliberating for less than seven hours before convicting Milton of two counts of wire fraud and one count of securities fraud.

A not-guilty verdict was handed down on another count of securities fraud.

Milton, who avoided pretrial detention by posting a $100 million bond, was granted permission by a federal judge to remain out of custody his until Jan. 27, 2023, sentencing. He is facing up to 20 years in prison, with prosecutors calling for a “significant” prison term in light of numerous warnings to Milton about his misrepresentations.

Nikola has recently announced several highpoints, including:

  • Acquiring land in Buckeye for the construction of a hydrogen production hub with project partners. The company is working through zoning and permitting processes and has already ordered some long lead-time equipment;
  • A multi-year purchase order for 100 Tre BEVs by Zeem Solutions, which specializes in fleet truck leasing;
  • A stock-only purchase of California-based Romeo Power, which is expected to result in a large savings for Nikola on battery-pack costs;
  • An intent to develop access of up to 300 metric-tons per day of hydrogen and up to 60 dispensing stations by 2026. The company sees potential benefits from the Inflation Reduction Act.