Last week, a Pinal County man pleaded guilty to falsely attesting to his felon status when registering to vote. It’s the latest case investigated and prosecuted by the attorney general office’s Election Integrity Unit (EIU).
35-year-old San Tan Valley resident Roberto Garcia voted in the 2020 general election, despite having six previous felony convictions. Garcia was indicted in the Pinal County Superior Court in March.
Garcia faces a minimum of six months and a maximum of 2.5 years. He will receive his sentencing on August 22 by Judge Jason Holmberg. Probation wasn’t made available.
Public court records reveal that one of Garcia’s previous felony convictions concerned theft in 2006.
Another EIU case was convicted last month. As AZ Free News reported, a Scottsdale woman voted for her dead mother in the 2020 election. The court revoked the voter registration of that woman, 56-year-old Krista Michelle Conner of Cochise County. Conner’s fraudulent ballot wasn’t counted, according to Cochise County Recorder David Stevens.
Prior to that, another Scottsdale woman that also cast a ballot in her dead mother’s name in the 2020 election — 64-year-old Tracey Kay McKee — was sentenced to two years’ probation.
Other recent convictions of voter fraud concerned several elections over the past decade. Those were 70-year-old Marcia Johnson of Lake Havasu City, who cast a ballot in her dead father’s name in 2018, and 62-year-old Joseph John Marak of Surprise, who voted as a felon six times since 2016.
The EIU was formed in 2019 and launched its online complaint form in the summer of 2020.
Residents living in unincorporated communities across Arizona have a streamlined process for seeking to become a city or town, now that Gov. Doug Ducey has signed House Bill 2455 into law.
Under HB2455, the process will require those seeking incorporation to provide public notice at least six months prior to formally publishing a Petition to Incorporate. The requirements for making that notice are also detailed in the new legislation which Ducey signed April 6.
Another important change related to HB2455 is the ability to include “large areas of uninhabited, rural or farm land” into the incorporation plan under certain circumstances. But the biggest change is that those directly impacted by an incorporation plan can still object and be removed from the boundaries, but it is harder for them to outright kill the effort.
The change is intended to allow affected local qualified electors to vote on the proposed incorporation without having their interests overshadowed by others.
HB2455 was introduced by Rep. Neal Carter who represents parts of Gila and Pinal counties. He lives in San Tan Valley, where residents have tried three times in the last 12 years to incorporate the area which is home to nearly 97,000 people in northern Pinal County.
“Each time, the effort has failed without ever going to a ballot because of objections from outside interests,” Carter said after his bill was signed into law. “I believe people who live within a community should have a chance for their voices to be heard on matters of local governance. Any decision of whether a community becomes a town or city should be made by its residents, not by out of area interests.”
Carter was appointed last fall by the Pinal County Board of Supervisors to fill the remainder of Rep. Frank Pratt’s term following Pratt’s death. HB2455 was the first bill Carter introduced which the governor has signed into law.
HB2455 takes effect 90 days after the end of this legislative session.
As a constituent in LD8, I have been hearing for years from Representative David Cook about his “conservative record.” This has been the song Cook has sung every election, and being completely unchallenged, he has successfully convinced many voters it is true.
But David Cook is no conservative, and him just saying he is, doesn’t make it so. The gig is up; Mr. Cook can’t run away from his very liberal record anymore.
Last week Rep. David Cook singlehandedly killed much needed tax cuts, institutionalizing the damage of Prop 208 and carrying the water for the democrats and Red4Ed. He was the lone Republican in this vote.
In trying to spin his way out of siding with the Dems on opposing tax relief, Cook is telling voters in Pinal County that he cut taxes by $600 million last year. One small problem with his claim–it never happened.
No tax cuts were passed in 2020, as the Pandemic ended session early and a “skinny budget” was passed by the legislature.
Cook didn’t vote to cut our taxes in 2019 by $600 million either. In fact, he raised taxes when he voted to collect a new tax on online sales which has resulted in an over $425M windfall in state and local coffers so far. Although Cook and his Republican colleagues did lower income rates in 2019, this was a part of an effort to stop a tax hike caused by conforming with the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Stopping a tax increase is not the same as a tax cut. None of this was very conservative.
Cook didn’t cut our taxes in 2018 either–he again voted to raise them. Cook voted with the Democrats for the now repealed $32 car registration fee most Republicans voted against. That wasn’t Cook “standing against his colleagues” to defend conservative principles. No, that was Cook standing with the Democrats and other liberal Republicans to pass a new $500M tax. This is not conservative.
And In 2017 Cook tried to raise our taxes again when he voted for a bill in the House Transportation committee to increase our gas tax by over 50%. This is not conservative.
This year Cook has been the main champion in the House to permanently increase unemployment benefits. On the heels of a government shutdown of the economy, Rep. Cook sponsored the bill this year that would increase unemployment taxes on small and medium businesses by 14 percent. Businesses are already struggling to hire workers back because they are competing against government paying people more to stay at home. This is not conservative.
Amid a surging border crisis, this year Cook was one of only four Republicans who voted to allow illegal immigrants to qualify for in state tuition, scholarships, and financial aid at Arizona public universities. This is not conservative.
The truth is that the legislature hasn’t cut taxes by $600 million in all of the years David Cook has served in the legislature. We have only seen our taxes go up, with Cook and his Democrat pals leading the way.
This year the state has a historic $4 billion surplus sitting in the coffers that all Republicans, except for David Cook, want to use to ensure real relief to taxpayers with real tax cuts.
Voters of LD8 aren’t fooled anymore, despite the impressive amount of gaslighting Mr. Cook does. David Cook is not a conservative. And it is long overdue he stops pretending to be.