The Arizona Supreme Court Should Uphold New Laws Banning Mask Mandates, Vaccine Mandates, and Critical Race Theory

The Arizona Supreme Court Should Uphold New Laws Banning Mask Mandates, Vaccine Mandates, and Critical Race Theory

By the Arizona Free Enterprise Club |

This past July, Arizona lawmakers and Governor Ducey did the right thing. Through a series of Budget Reconciliation Bills, they took important steps to protect the people of Arizona from more COVID mandates and to prevent children from being indoctrinated in public schools by Critical Race Theory.

While COVID was certainly an issue that warranted some action, it never should have included trampling on the rights of the people. And we definitely should not be wasting tax dollars on lessons that teach public school students that one race, ethnic group, or sex is in any way superior to another.

Not surprisingly, these laws sent teachers’ unions into a tailspin. As students headed back to campus, some Arizona schools decided to teach students that it’s ok to violate the law. And the Arizona Board of Regents recently announced that all three state universities will require their employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by December 8.

Then, there’s the lawsuit

>>> READ MORE >>>

Audits Restore Faith In Elections

Audits Restore Faith In Elections

By John Fund and Hans A. von Spakovsky with the Heritage Foundation |

Election audits of the 2020 election are under attack in the media.

It’s easy to see why some calls for audits have drawn criticism.

But audits can serve a very useful purpose. Glenn Youngkin, the Virginia Republican nominee for governor, is calling for an “audit” of the state’s voting machines. The former co-CEO of the Carlyle group says: “I grew up in a world where you have an audit every year, in businesses you have an audit. So let’s just audit the voting machines, publish it so everybody can see it.”

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Kari Lake, a former Phoenix news anchor whose candidacy for governor of Arizona has been endorsed by Donald Trump, said she would not have certified the 2020 election results in the state. She cited “serious irregularities and problems with the election”.

>>> What Needs to Happen Now That Arizona Election Audit Over

What she didn’t do was directly allege fraud—and that was smart. The official results showed Trump lost Arizona by some 10,000 votes out of some 3.4 million votes cast. A just-released forensic audit of Maricopa County’s result ordered by the GOP-controlled Arizona State Senate recounted about 2.1 million ballots cast in the county. It found 261 fewer ballots for Trump and 99 more for Biden than county had, prompting critics to declare the audit both irresponsible and a waste of time.

No one should now doubt that the final vote tabulation shows that Biden won the state. But critics of the audit either don’t understand the purpose of an audit or are trying to deliberately obscure the fact the Arizona audit turned up some worrying findings that should be used to avoid problems in future elections.

One of us has been a former county election official for large jurisdictions in both Georgia and Virginia.  Recounts—what the Arizona audit was—almost always only show slight differences from the original ballot tabulation. The fact that the hand recount in Maricopa County matched the machine recount simply means that the computer scanners used to scan and tabulate paper ballots were working properly. A recount simply recounts the ballots that were cast—a recount does not investigate, examine or review the legitimacy of those ballots.

A recount does not verify or check whether ballots were cast by registered voters who are actually deceased; who do not actually live where they claim to live; who cast multiple votes because they are registered more than once; or who are not entitled to vote even though they are registered because they are not US citizens or are felons who have not yet had their right to vote restored.

A simple example illustrates this problem. If a homeowners’ association has an election and the new president wins with 51 out of 100 votes, a recount will no doubt confirm that she received 51 votes. But it will not reveal whether 5 of her 51 votes were cast by individuals who falsely claimed to live in the neighborhood when they actually live elsewhere.

Volume III of the Maricopa audit lists some disturbing findings. That includes 23,344 “mail-in ballots voted from a prior address”; 9,041 “more ballots returned by voter than received”; 5,295 “voters that potentially voted in multiple counties”; 2,592 “more duplicates than original ballots”; and 2,382 “in-person voters who had moved out of Maricopa County”.

Numerous other problems are listed, such as voters whose ballots were counted despite the fact that they registered to vote after the state deadline for registration had already passed.

These are serious potential problems that should be investigated with the help of law enforcement. For example, the individual voter files of the 5,295 “voters that potentially voted in multiple counties” should be pulled, and each voter should be investigated to determine if they have multiple registrations and, in fact, illegally cast more than one vote in the 2020 election.

Contrary to what some passionate backers of Donald Trump seem to believe, the purpose of an audit is not to overturn an election. It is too late to do so. Every state has election laws that provide very short deadlines for a losing candidate to contest the outcome of an election. That deadline has long expired in Arizona and every other state.

Instead, audits are intended to determine whether voting machines worked properly; whether applicable state and federal laws and regulations were followed; whether the voter registration list was accurate and up-to-date and only allowed eligible individuals to vote; and whether all eligible voters were able to vote, that their vote was properly counted, and that their votes were not voided or nullified by fraud, mistakes, or errors.

The results of such an election audit can then be used to correct any compliance issues, to prosecute anyone who engaged in intentional misconduct that violates state or federal election laws, to change election administration procedures that led to errors and mistakes by election officials, and to provide legislators with the information they need to make needed amendments to election laws to make sure any problems that were found do not reoccur in future elections.

What is most disturbing about the reaction to the audit report is that so many seem to think that this is the end of the review process, since the hand recount showed that Biden won and, thus, nothing else needs to be done. This attitude is especially disturbing in Maricopa County election officials, who from the very start have done everything they could to obstruct the audit and who are now claiming that since their “canvass” was accurate, they don’t need to do anything else.

>>> Debunking the Left’s Propaganda on Voting

That attitude is wrong. The audit seems to have revealed that sloppy, careless and chaotic procedures were utilized in Maricopa County during the last election. Officials there have a duty to not only investigate all of the potential problems the audit found, such as potential multiple registrations by the same individual, but to correct their procedures and implement better training for their election workers to ensure that such problems, if confirmed, do not happen again.

Opposing the conduct of election audits is unwise and unjustified. Audits are a routine occurrence in the business world for good reason. Conducting random or comprehensive audits after an election in every state should also be routine.

Contrary to the bizarre claim of election officials in Harris County, Texas, that audits are “an attack by officials on our communities’ trust in elections”, audits are a form of transparency, ensuring the security of the election process and improving the confidence of the public in the integrity of elections.

We can agree that President Biden is the legal winner of the 2020 election. We should also agree that the serious problems that occurred surrounding it need to fixed if we are to avoid a potential conflict over the 2024 results.

John Fund is a Senior Fellow and Director of Government Finance Programs for the Heritage Foundation. Hans A. von Spakovsky serves on the Heritage Foundation’s Election Law Reform Initiative and is a Senior Legal Fellow.

This piece originally appeared in The Spectator World

Bulk Mail Voting Is The True Threat To Democracy

Bulk Mail Voting Is The True Threat To Democracy

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

A recent cover of The Week magazine proclaimed “Undermining Democracy.  The GOP’s blueprint for nullifying Democratic votes in 2024.”

The article was another installment of the concentrated effort on the Left to convince Americans that voter fraud is essentially nonexistent, just a hoax used by Republicans as an excuse to deny the franchise to underprivileged Americans.

But is it true?  Are Republicans using strategies like restricting the number of weeks early voting is allowed, cleaning up outdated voter rolls and requiring voter ID simply to squelch minority votes?

The Week article didn’t describe one voter who had been even partially hindered from voting. Critics seldom do because such cases are devilishly hard to find.

Any limiting of access is illegal under federal law and the Department of Justice has a large and aggressive enforcement unit. Yet during the eight years of the Obama administration, just four cases were filed under the relevant voting rights section.

Moreover, a 2019 survey of turnout data from all 50 states concluded that voter ID laws, for example, “have no negative affect on registration or turnout“ for any race, gender, party or age group. The Census Bureau in 2012 reported that blacks nationally had a higher turnout rate than whites.

Mississippi had a higher percentage turnout of black voters than white, unlike Connecticut, New York or Delaware.  Much reviled Georgia’s black turnout percentage was higher than New York’s in 2018 and 2020, all during times when Republicans were being loudly accused of voter suppression. They must be the most inept vote suppressors in history.

The Maricopa County 2020 audit was meant to clear up some of these issues of fraud versus suppression. It was never intended by its sponsors to overturn the election.  So all the chortling by its detractors when that didn’t happen is their mistake.

Nevertheless, both sides felt vindicated. One thing for certain is that allegations that voter fraud  doesn’t exist were again demolished. Voters voting in multiple counties, mail-in ballots from prior addresses, dead people voting, deleted files and duplicated ballots were all uncovered.

But the commission whiffed on the issue of bulk mail voting. The practice of sending unsolicited ballots by mail to millions of voters is by far the greatest potential threat to election integrity.

Unfortunately, they looked for evidence of mail fraud in the wrong place at the wrong time. The audit was of the accounting process and never really addressed how the ballots were generated in the first place.

Mail-in fraud has caused entire elections to be canceled and major schemes have been busted in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and other states.  But any fraud discovered is likely only the tip of the iceberg. Fraud from bulk mail voting/ballot harvesting occurs out of sight  and leaves few traces.

Unlike in-person voting, there is no ability to assure the vote is cast independently.  Arizona’s  sole safeguard has been the notoriously easy-to-game signature verification process with no ID required.

Normally, chain of custody violations are considered a major breach by election officials. Here, there is no chain of custody. What could go wrong?

There’s a reason that after Democrats discovered electoral gold in 2016, votes by mail more than doubled in 2020, and just 28% voted in person on election day. Yet as far back as 2005, the bipartisan Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform advised that “absentee ballots remain the largest source of potential voter fraud.”

Our sister democracies know that. 74% ban absentee voting entirely for citizens living in the country, 6% have very strict restrictions and another 15% require photo ID to obtain a mail ballot. France and Mexico banned mail-in voting after massive fraud and political intimidation were finally discovered.

America has a serious problem. Our elections do not have, and do not deserve, the confidence of a majority of Americans.

The overriding problem is not lack of access to the ballot. In fact, a plurality of voters believe it is too easy to vote.

It’s not stolen elections or miscounted ballots. It is intentionally flawed election laws that permit massive security leaks, raising the undeniable possibility of widespread cheating.

That, friends, is the true threat to democracy.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ Election Manual Is Filled with Unlawful Changes – Ducey and Brnovich Must Reject Them

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ Election Manual Is Filled with Unlawful Changes – Ducey and Brnovich Must Reject Them

By the AZ Free Enterprise Club |

Laws are meaningless if they aren’t enforced, are misapplied or misconstrued. The duly elected Arizona legislature crafts and passes election bills, and the Governor signs them into law. The Secretary of State, however, is tasked with prescribing “rules to achieve and maintain the maximum degree of correctness, impartiality, uniformity and efficiency” in implementing those laws.

This is done through the Elections Procedures Manual (EPM). But instead of crafting this with “impartiality” to attain the “maximum degree of correctness” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs seems intent on subverting state law in some instances, obfuscating in others, and as highlighted in a previous article, doing an end-run around a United States Supreme Court decision that upheld an Arizona election integrity practice.

The good news is that Hobbs doesn’t have unilateral authority to do this. She was required to submit this draft manual to Attorney General Brnovich and Governor Ducey by October 1st. Both have to sign off on the draft manual for it to go into effect. If they decline, we stick with the 2019 manual and Hobbs’s changes die…

>>> READ MORE >>>

Arizona Audit Recommends Universal Voter ID—Just Like We’ve Been Saying for Years

Arizona Audit Recommends Universal Voter ID—Just Like We’ve Been Saying for Years

By the AZ Free Enterprise Club |

Easy to vote and hard to cheat. That should be the benchmark for every single election we have.

Voters should not have to choose between having a secure election or having an accessible election. They can have both. And in Arizona, we’ve certainly made our elections accessible.

But that hasn’t always been the case with the security of our elections. And the results of the Arizona audit issued in September show just that.

These are significant issues that need to be addressed. Thankfully, the audit report made multiple recommendations that are common-sense election integrity policies.

And the most important one is something we’ve been saying for years…

>>>READ MORE >>>

Surprise, Surprise!  It’s Time To Go Through The Debt Limit Raising Hassle Again

Surprise, Surprise! It’s Time To Go Through The Debt Limit Raising Hassle Again

By Dr. Thomas Patterson |

Democrats are clamoring for immediate action to avert a financial crisis which would be blamed on Republicans, just because. Meanwhile, the Republican campaign conservatives aren’t showing much enthusiasm for this rare possibility of achieving significant fiscal reform.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen rolled out the traditional arguments for raising the debt limit in the Wall Street Journal. Raising the limit doesn’t authorize additional deficit spending, which is true, as far as it goes.  But it does ratify the overspending that has occurred, which keeps the ball rolling for spenders.

But she whiffs on the real point. The greater danger to our credit-worthiness would be to continue the present course. As our indebtedness climbs to stratospheric levels and interest rates return to normal, our fundamental ability to service the debt becomes questionable, as our geopolitical rivals well know.

America is going to pay its debts. Yet in an obvious attempt to bullrush Republicans into compliance without conditions, Secretary Yellen warns that any failure could cause economic damage so severe as to be permanent.

Indeed, the titanic struggle over the 2011 debt limit increase, which resulted in a $2.1 trillion spending cut, caused a significant downturn in financial markets. However, spurred by the spending cut and the vitality of America’s private sector, all the losses and more were made up within the year.

Yellen notes that Congress has raised or suspended the debt ceiling 80 times since 1960, so it must be no big deal, right? But what’s wrong with this picture?

All 80 times, the effect was to increase America’s borrowing capacity. It has never been reduced. The routine, expected raising of the debt limit is the enabling mechanism that has allowed us to slide into treacherous financial territory.

Republicans have never had a better opportunity to break this self-perpetuating cycle. Democrats are on a world record spending binge. Their majorities are slim and fractious.  They desperately need Republican cooperation.

So Republicans are threatened with being saddled, again, with responsibility for the dreaded government “shutdown”.  Previous shutdowns prohibited WW II veterans from visiting their DC memorial and prevented the viewing, even from the highway, of Mount Rushmore.

But government employees and beneficiaries were exempted. Nonessential employees got the best deal of all. They were furloughed but promised a complete pay reimbursement after the “shutdown.” Road trip!

Both Yellen and Biden insist that raising the debt ceiling in the past was bipartisan.  That doesn’t make it right, of course.  Still, the claim holds true only if you consider a 98.8% negative Democrat vote on the three debt ceiling bills during the George W. Bush administration to be “bipartisan.“

But the screws on Republicans get tightened anyway. “I can’t believe Republicans will let the nation default“ by not raising the debt limit, Chuck Schumer mourned at a recent press conference. As usual, the Chuckster was making it up.

Democrats control the White House and both houses of Congress. They don’t need a single Republican vote to do whatever they wish. They could have simply included the debt limit provisions in a budget resolution, a reconciliation bill not subject to the filibuster and thus not requiring Republican votes to pass.

Schumer instead moved the debt limit to regular legislation requiring 60 votes so that Republicans could be blamed for its failure. Democrats understandably don’t want the political blame for pushing  our nation deeper into debt. But why should Republicans bail them out when the budget-crushing Biden era spending bills have passed with almost exclusively Democrat support?

Based on their record when in power, Republicans may not be sincerely interested in living within our means either.  If they are serious, they must learn from past mistakes. Previous budgetary reforms included in debt limit bills have failed because they were later amended or ignored.

This time, Republicans must demand limitations that are self-activated and self-enforced, not subject to congressional amendment, at least for a time certain. Congressional proposal of a debt-limiting constitutional amendment should be on the table.

For common sense fiscal conservatives, this is our time. Success requires boldness and bravery.

Dr. Thomas Patterson, former Chairman of the Goldwater Institute, is a retired emergency physician. He served as an Arizona State senator for 10 years in the 1990s, and as Majority Leader from 93-96. He is the author of Arizona’s original charter schools bill.