By Corinne Murdock |
Arizona civil rights activist Jarrett Maupin, Jr., characterized the 2022 attorney general election contest as the “civil rights issue of our time.”
Maupin referenced the allegations of disenfranchisement, which he claimed would bring American society back to a time where Black citizens couldn’t vote under the Democratic Party.
“Without the right to vote and to have every vote counted, we will return to the dark days of the Democrats of the Old South. If you cannot vote, you are a slave,” said Maupin. “Period.”
Maupin has run multiple times for different offices, including Congress and Phoenix mayor.
Republican attorney general candidate Abe Hamadeh is challenging the validity of Kris Mayes as the elected attorney general. The Mohave County Superior Court granted oral arguments earlier this month. As AZ Free News reported, Judge Lee Jantzen expressed interest in the sampling of evidence provided by Hamadeh’s team during the arguments.
Hamadeh’s team focused on evidence of allegedly disenfranchised voters, specifically uncounted votes from undervotes and provisional ballots. Opposition representing Mayes, Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, and Maricopa County argued that too much time has passed since the initial December hearing and swearing-in.
A ruling in the oral arguments is pending but should be made available soon. Jantzen promised a ruling in several weeks’ time; it’s been over two weeks since the hearing.
While the outcome of Hamadeh’s oral arguments remains pending, a nonprofit organization filed a lawsuit against Gov. Katie Hobbs for failing to fulfill a public records request related to the election while in her capacity as secretary of state.
America First Legal (AFL) submitted its public records request 10 days after Election Day last year, on Nov. 18.
AFL requested all emails from Nov. 8-16 sent to and from Hobbs; Hobbs’ former assistant secretary of state and, most recently, former chief of staff Allie Bones; Hobbs’ former communications director as both secretary of state and governor, C. Murphy Hebert; and Hobbs’ former deputy communications director while secretary of state and current deputy communications director, Sophia Solis.
Bones resigned from Hobbs’ office several weeks after AFL filed its lawsuit. Hebert was dismissed in March, just days after Hobbs’ former press secretary, Josselyn Berry, resigned over a tweet indicating a call for gun violence against transphobes. Berry issued the tweet hours after the Covenant School shooting in Nashville, Tennessee, perpetrated by a woman who identified as a transgender male. The Covenant School is a private Christian school; the shooter has an unreleased manifesto corresponding with the murders.
Hebert was hired earlier this month by the current secretary of state, Adrian Fontes.
AFL reported that though Hobbs’ administration never responded to their request, Fontes did. Fontes denied the request on Feb. 1 of this year. His administration claimed that the request covering the emails between four employees over the course of nine days constituted “an unreasonable administrative burden.” The secretary of state’s general counsel, Amy Chan, said the request concerned “many thousands of emails” in her rejection letter.
AFL argued that Fontes’ office failed to fulfill their statutory duty of providing “sufficiently weighty reasons” for denying the request. This includes, according to court precedent cited by AFL — ACLU v. Arizona Department of Child Safety — the resources and time it took to locate and redact the materials, the volume of materials requested, and how much it disrupted the secretary of state’s core functions.