Thursday, November 15, 2018

WATCH: "Go Get Him, Acosta! Do Not Back Down" - Sen. Flake's Exhortation To The Press, In a "Search For Truth" Keynote



https://cs.pn/2RWLfxs

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

DEFAMATION: Arpaio Serving NY Times, Immediately Ready To File A 2nd Defamation Suit - Rolling Stone Calls Him "Ex-Felon"

(UPDATE, 4:15pm: The Rolling Stone has changed its description of former Sheriff Arpaio and removed the "ex-felon" descriptor. The article now reads "presidential pardonee and former Maricopa County sheriff, Joe Arpaio. (Arpaio was convicted of contempt of court, a misdemeanor, in 2017 and pardoned by Trump less than one month later.)"

As a (very) public figure, Arpaio has a higher legal burden to prove defamation than does an ordinary citizen. Arpaio will have to be able to prove "actual malice" for his lawsuit against the NY Times (or, the potential suit vs. RS) to go anywhere.)

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his attorney are serving the New York Times with their defamation lawsuit today, and sighted their second media target today.

Rolling Stone published an article this afternoon about Rep. Kyrsten Sinema's apparent victory in Arizona's U.S. Senate election. In it, the article notes that Rep. Martha McSally had beaten Kelli Ward and Joe Arpaio in the August primary; Ward was described as a "tea party conspiracist" and Arpaio was touted as both the former Sheriff and an "ex-felon."

This grabbed the former lawman, who immediately tweeted that he "was never arrested or charged with a felony."  He calls the Rolling Stone description "completely, misleading, defamatory statements by Rolling Stone is calculated to harm his reputation. Fake news, Already suing large newspaper for 147.5 mil. (all, sic)"
Of course, Arpaio was convicted of criminal contempt of a Court Order for his role in the racial profiling lawsuit Melendres v. Arpaio. The conviction carried a maximum 6-month jail, and was thus considered to be a misdemeanor. Arpaio was pardoned by President Donald Trump before sentencing, and the former Sheriff is currently trying to expunge that finding of guilt. (It is in the 9th Circuit, and the Arpaio legal team is appealing the appointment of a special prosecutor to the U.S. Supreme Court.)

Last month, Arpaio and his attorney Larry Klayman did file a $147.5M defamation lawsuit against the New York Times and columnist Michelle Cottle. Cottle celebrated Arpaio's defeat in the primary and compared Maricopa County jails under Arpaio to "concentration camps". As a (very) public figure, Arpaio has a higher legal burden to prove defamation than does an ordinary citizen. Arpaio will have to be able to prove "actual malice" for his lawsuit against the NY Times (or, the potential suit vs. RS) to go anywhere.

Klayman told Arizona's Politics today that the "ex-felon" descriptor is also defamatory. He declined to indicate whether he had already discussed this article with Arpaio, and said that "the New York Times is being served today." He also promised that things "will heat up soon."

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Friday, November 9, 2018

THROWING IN THE TOWEL? White House, Senior Republicans Think McSally Should Be Pushing Their Vote Count Trickery Messages; Suspect She's Just Waiting For Ducey Appointment To McCain Seat

Wow! Trump's top political aides - inside and outside the White House - and other national Republicans believe that Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) has not been pushing their desired party line that some sort of trickery is happening in Arizona's ballot processing and counting. Some speculate that she is silent because she believes re-elected Governor Doug Ducey will appoint her to fill Sen. John McCain's seat if she loses the election to Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9).

This reporting from Alex Isenstadt and James Arkin at Politico help fill in some of the missing puzzle pieces. When Trump Campaign Manager Brad Parscale tweeted about "tricks" in Arizona and speculated about "rampant fraud", followed quickly by the President's implications that there was corruption on display in Arizona, it was a sudden 1-2 that caught many off guard.

But, when that was followed by Arizona Senator Jon Kyl chiming in and RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel calling it intentional "corruption" and "election meddling" on Fox's Sean Hannity's show, it was apparent that a strategy had been formed that left out McSally. Trump's over the top tweet from Paris this afternoon - just as a court hearing on the Republicans' suit to stop Maricopa and Pima County Recorders from contacting voters was about to begin - brought the chorus to a crescendo.




Politico's reporting fills in some of the behind the scenes details.
At the highest levels of the national party, there’s frustration with McSally — and a sense that she’s not being aggressive enough throughout the process.
While Florida Gov. Rick Scott has lashed out at election officials over the vote counting in his state, McSally has been largely silent. Top officials with the White House and Republican National Committee, who’ve been prodding the McSally campaign to amp up its efforts, have expressed frustration that the Arizona congresswoman hasn’t tried to drive a message that there’s something amiss with the vote count.
On Thursday evening, senior Republicans joined the McSally campaign for a conference call to discuss the state of play. On the call, Justin Clark, the White House director of public liaison, and Mike Roman, a veteran opposition researcher who is working with the RNC, pressed the McSally campaign on what was being done. 
RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel, meanwhile, has spoken with Lines, and has expressed a desire for more aggressiveness.
The article then outlines McSally's and Lines' tepid statements trying to re-brand the lawsuit as an effort to stop disenfranchisement of voters in rural counties*, rather than pushing the corruption/trickert/fraud line.

The kicker comes next, when the reporters note that some Republicans suspect a motive for McSally's supposed lack of fight.
Among some senior Republicans, there is suspicion about why McSally has chosen to hold back. Some are convinced that she’s willing to let the race go and instead hope for an appointment to the state’s other Senate seat. Kyl, who was picked to replace the late Sen. John McCain, has yet to commit to serving for a full term.
*The Complaint and Motion for a TRO filed by four GOP County Committees on Wednesday repeatedly indicate that they were primarily targeting the voter contact procedures in Pima and Maricopa Counties. While the legal basis for the claims was that all 15 counties should utilize the same procedure for curing mis-matched signature issues, at no point did they indicate that the desired solution would be to require the rural counties to employ the same procedures that Pima County has used for several elections and that Maricopa County adopted last month under a threat of litigation.

Here is a quote from the Complaint: "27. On information and beliet however, certain County Recorders - specifically those of Maricopa and Pima Counties - will allow voters to cure non-compliant early ballots for a period of five days after Election Day, a contingency that finds no statutory authorization and threatens to beget an extended period of confusion and uncertainty following the election."

Joined by the Arizona GOP (and the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance), the Plaintiffs agreed today to allow Maricopa and Pima Counties to continue contacting the voters, and allowing and/or instructing other counties to quickly start doing so, as well.

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BREAKING: As Sinema Increases Lead To 20k Votes, Sandra Kennedy Slips Into Corporation Commissioner Lead

With more vote counts being released tonight, Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) increased her lead for the U.S. Senate seat to 20,203 votes. Also, Democratic candidate Sandra Kennedy slipped into 2nd place for the two open Corporation Commission seats.

Kennedy, a former Commissioner, now leads Republican Rodney Glassman by nearly 1,700 votes.

In other developments, Republican Steve Gaynor has maintained his 50.3%-49.7% edge over Katie Hobbs for Secretary of State (+10,609), and Democrat Kathy Hoffman has increased her lead for State Superintendent of Public Instruction over Frank Riggs (+31,886).


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Settlement Agreement - Parties Disagree On Impact Of Settlement Of GOP's Suit Re: Curing Mis-Matched Ballot Envelope Signatures

To the surprise of many - including some of the parties in the GOP's lawsuit - a settlement agreement was announced at Friday afternoon's court hearing. The GOP had sued all of Arizona's County Recorders in order to stop four counties from reaching out to early voters if the signature on their envelope did not match the voter registration signature on file.

The Settlement Agreement announced instructs those counties to continue - until Wednesday, Nov. 14 -  the same "cure" procedures that they were practicing before Election Day. The other counties are also supposed to follow the same procedures that they were following before Election Day.

And, that is where some confusion arises. Brett Johnson, the attorney for the plaintiffs, announced again that their goal was to create parity between all of Arizona's counties. However, his later comments did not make it at all clear that the 11 "other counties" now need to go to the land of mismatched signatures and contact the affected voters. Many of those counties either did not contact voters with problematic signatures or ceased doing so several days before Election Day.

However, Kory Langhofer, attorney for the Arizona Republican Party, claimed victory after the hour-long hearing,  "This is a really big win for Republicans and Martha McSally. These rural counties that were not going to count Republicans votes in rural areas got caught with their pants down."

He quickly shifted the focus, however, claiming that it is unfair that Republicans only have 3 observers watching Maricopa County process the remaining hundreds of thousands of ballots. "You kidding me? That's not real transparency."

He acknowledged that that is the same number of observers they have had in past elections, and the Democrats have the same number. He declined to answer Arizona's Politics' question if that meant that the GOP will go to court to seek to increase the number of partisan observers.

Today's settlement will likely not be greeted warmly by President Trump, who tweeted shortly before the hearing that there was corruption going on in Arizona's vote counting.




Earlier in the day, the President had hinted that he felt it was corrupt, in televised remarks. Arizona's Politics reported on those remarks and you can watch his FULL response here.

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WATCH: Trump Implies Corruption In Arizona Vote-Counting - "All Of a Sudden Out Of the Wilderness They Find a Lot Of Votes"

President Donald Trump went after Arizona's electoral process and the Democrats' influence on it. Without any evidence to back it up, he implied that corruption was to blame for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) taking a slim 9,000 vote lead in the Senate contest against Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2).

The President was asked a question about the size of the Democrats' majority in the U.S. House of Representatives next year. He quickly segued into a boast about how he has rooted out corruption in the FBI and Department of Justice - "We're getting to the bottom of it and I've done a helluva job" - before raising the Arizona vote-counting.

"But, it is interesting. It always seems to go the way of the Democrats. Now in Arizona, all of a sudden, out of the wilderness they find a lot of votes. And she’s – the other candidate – is just winning by a hair."

Here is President Trump's entire response about the Tuesday election, as the context is important. The Arizona comment is at the 1:05 mark.
Will open in new tab: https://cs.pn/2F99UNA

Trump then quickly repeated a rant about corruption in the elections process in Broward County (Florida). The Arizona comments were sandwiched by his corruption remarks, and was in concert with comments today from his 2020 campaign chair. Brad Parscale, alleging fraud.



There is no evidence of any "found" votes or any "trickery" or "fraud" in Arizona's ballot processing and counting process, and unfounded accusations against the integrity of Arizona's elections - especially coming from the President - is irresponsible, reckless and could be construed as un-American.

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Thursday, November 8, 2018

HELP WANTED: Can't Wait For The #AZSen Results? Help Maricopa County Process The Flood Of Last Minute Ballots

Democracy wants you! Especially if you are impatiently awaiting the final tallies on the extremely close races, and you have some time to help move the process along!
(Help these lonely ballots!)


The Maricopa County Recorder's Office has set up an EventBrite sign up sheet for about 300 Republicans, Democrats and Independents to take a shift to help process the flood of last minute ballots they received on Election Day (and just before).

Shifts are available from 7am-2pm, 3-10pm, or an after work shift from 6-10pm, and the pay is $10.50/hour.  Currently at the link, the schedule requests workers through Sunday, but Chief Deputy Recorder Keely Varvel tells Arizona's Politics that new shifts for next week will be posted soon.

The sign-up has separate slots for Democrats, Republicans, and "Others", because the ballots are processed by mixed teams, to prevent any funny business. The work entails checking the envelopes and the voter information on there before separating the secret ballot from the identifying info, removing any stray marks on the ballots which would prevent them from being properly scanned, and duplicating ballots that do not properly scan.

Here is the link to sign up: http://bit.ly/ElectionBoardSignUps

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BREAKING: Arizona Democrats Fire Back, File The 2nd Complaint Against Maricopa County Recorder

UPDATE, 6PM: We have received and are posting below the Complaint filed by the Arizona Democratic Party. It is a public records suit asking for information on any "conditional provisional ballots" cast on Tuesday, and for lists of those early or provisional ballots where the signatures did not match. The request was made one week before Election Day and the Recorder's Office had promised to provide the information immediately after the polls closed.

As the Republicans and the County Recorders discussed in today's hearing in the other case, the deadline for voters to cure any defects in their ballots is next Wednesday. Both parties are requesting the information so that they can assist their party members in ensuring that their ballots are counted.

Keely Varvel, the Chief Deputy Recorder for Maricopa County, tells Arizona's Politics that the lists are not yet ready and will be provided to both parties as soon as it is.

The Arizona Democratic Party has fired the 2nd shot today in the legal battle over counting ballots in the tightly-contested #AZSen (and, other) race. The new lawsuit is only against the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, where the vast majority of yet-uncounted ballots (and the

Arizona's Politics has not yet received responses from the parties or the court about the specific
subject of the new complaint, but it follows yesterday afternoon's lawsuit filed by Arizona Republicans. The GOP is trying to prevent Maricopa, Pima, and Apache counties from reaching out to voters who signed their early ballot outer envelopes in a way that does not match voter registration records.

The Republican lawsuit had its initial hearing in court this morning. Superior Court Judge Margaret Mahoney emphatically rejected the plaintiffs' effort to order the counties to segregate any ballots that may be subject to the suit. Daniel Jurkowitz argued that state statutes would not permit the ballots to be kept with the identifying envelopes once the signature is verified indicating that it is a legitimately mailed (or, dropped off) ballot.

Jurkowitz also indicated that the Pima County Recorder has moved to dismiss the GOP lawsuit.

The Arizona Republican Party is attempting to intervene in the initial lawsuit, and its attorney (Kory Langhofer) is also trying to intervene on  behalf of the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance - a group that does not disclose its financial backing.  Other parties attempting to intervene are the Arizona Democratic Party and the League of Latin American Citizens and the American Civil Liberties Union. (The latter two working together.)

The U.S. Senate race is still too close to call, with Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) currently leading Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) by less than 17,000 votes (out of 1.75M cast). Several hundred thousand ballots are still being verified and counted.





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