Thursday, October 29, 2020

UPDATE: CNN Clarifies Article About Maricopa County's Emergency Voting; Putting the Genie Back In the Bottle Is Harder

UPDATE, 2:00p.m.: In response to Arizona's Politics' article, CNN has corrected their earlier piece to better reflect that Maricopa County did not just "extend" Early Voting through this coming weekend, and to better reflect the difference between the Early Voting period that ends this Friday and the Emergency Voting period that runs this coming Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

Their initial headline is in our initial Fact Check, below. The new headline changes "Early voting" to "Pre-election voting" and the second sentence acknowledges that the plan was actually put into place in September (as we reported at the time).

Unfortunately, it is hard to put the genie back in the bottle. After protesting that their original article did not give the impression that something just happened, a CNN reporter - not one of the ones who had written the article - went on-air to say that Maricopa County's early voting "has NOW been extended...."


FACT CHECK: Maricopa County NOT Suddenly Extending Early Voting Through The Weekend; CNN Is Incorrect, Previous "Emergency Voting" Plan Still In Place, Says Fontes

CNN reported this morning that Early Voting in Maricopa County "will continue" through this weekend. However, that is incorrect, Recorder Adrian Fontes tells Arizona's Politics. There will be previously-planned "Emergency Voting" vote centers open around the county, but no changes have recently been made.

The CNN report - headlined "Early voting will continue through weekend in Arizona's largest county"   - gives the impression that the County Board of Supervisors approved the change due to the pandemic.

"That is wrong," says Fontes. "They will be open under the plan that was approved earlier."

Both Early Voting and Emergency Voting are both similar processes set forth in Arizona's statutes. By law, Early Voting ends the Friday before the election. Emergency Voting is in place for the next three days, and requires the Emergency Voter to specify that something unforeseen happened after 5pm Friday that makes it impossible for them to vote in person on Election Day.

The statement that Emergency Voters will sign states: "I declare under penalty of perjury that I am experiencing or have experienced an emergency after 5:00 p.m. on the Friday immediately preceding the election and before 5:00 p.m. on the Monday immediately preceding the election that will prevent me from voting at a polling place on Election Day.”

Those statements will not be available to party Poll Observers for challenging the voter's emergency status.


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Monday, October 26, 2020

GUEST COMMENTARY: Don’t play politics; retain Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury!

The political campaign to remove Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury has gained momentum. This is wrong, especially when it is based only on a sliver of evidence.

 

Arizona went to the judicial retention system to fix this politicization. Despite Judge Coury’s ruling in the Invest in Ed Initiative case, which Democratic literature claims was overly partisan, it is important to keep in mind that it was one opinion out of many.

 

From my personal experience observing Judge Coury’s courtroom during law school (while he was on the criminal bench), I was able to see a much different Judge Coury. I saw a fair, compassionate, and impartial judge who followed the letter of the law, and went above and beyond in faithfully executing his judicial duties. I learned a lot about criminal proceedings and the jury selection process because he took the time to explain and teach me.

 

I was further impressed by the weekly program for juvenile transfer offenders (JTOPS), which he ran. Through the JTOPS program, he helped to rehabilitate many juvenile offenders by offering them a chance to learn from their mistakes, staying out of the Department of Corrections system, and avoid recidivism. 

 

Overall, a judge's ruling in one case cannot possibly show a full and accurate representation of their ability to serve on the bench as a nonpartisan judge. I believe Judge Coury is an asset to the Maricopa County Court system and would be missed if he is unfairly voted out based on one ruling. 


(Aaryn Weich is a 2019 graduate of the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law in Phoenix.)



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Monday, October 5, 2020

BREAKING: Arizona voter registration deadline EXTENDED until October 23. READ Judge Logan's opinion

In a stunning last minute decision, a judge extended Arizona's voter registration deadline from today until October 23. U.S. District Court Judge Steven Logan issued the ruling in a case brought by Mi Familia Vota mere hours before the statutory deadline of October 5.

For a very good (and, quick) article on the ruling, please see the article by Andrew Oxford.

Here is the ruling itself. There is no word yet on whether the state will appeal to the 9th Circuit.


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Thursday, October 1, 2020

BREAKING: Stop The Trump Administration From Arguing Against Obamacare - Sen. McSally Votes To Move Forward With Schumer Bill

Arizona Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) and four other vulnerable Republicans voted with Democrats this afternoon to move forward with a symbolic bill that would have prevented the Trump Administration's Department of Justice from arguing to repeal the Obamacare bill in the Supreme Court next month. 


The measure failed to move forward, on a 51-43 vote; 60 votes were necessary - and, it would have needed to be signed by the President. 

The one-sentence bill from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated that the U.S. could not "advocate that a court invalidate any provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."

 McSally is trailing to Democratic candidate Mark Kelly in the special election for the seat previously held by the late Sen. John McCain. The question of the Affordable Care Act and its protections for people with pre-existing conditions has been a central one in the campaign.

Arizona's Politics has asked her office to comment, and to state how she would have voted on the bill if it had come to a vote. More from Politico.


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Friday, September 25, 2020

FACT CHECK: President's New Executive Order Re: Healthcare Explicitly Does...Nothing But Maintain Status Quo, Notwithstanding Sen. McSally Praise (READ Text)

Arizona Senator Martha McSally today lauded President Donald Trump's new Executive Order regarding healthcare, saying that it makes it federal policy to protect individuals with pre-existing conditions and "helps eliminate the surprise medical billing". 

However, the Executive Order itself says that the President had already made it federal policy to protect people with pre-existing conditions. "It has been and will continue to be the policy of the United States... to ensure that Americans with pre-existing conditions can obtain the insurance of their choice at affordable rates." (There is a distinction to be made in that statement, too, because the President, the Senator and many Republicans have tried to repeal the protection in the ACA that ensures people with pre-existing conditions do not have to pay higher premiums than others.)

The Executive Order goes on to encourage Congress to ask his Administration to work with Congress on the surprise billing issue, and to take administrative action if Congress fails to pass such a bill by the end of the year.

The rest of the Executive Order was more of a campaign document of all of the great things Congress and the Administration have done during the past four years, and orders that his departments "shall maintain and build upon" them.

Fact Check: The first part of Sen. McSally's tweet is proven FALSE by the text of the Executive Order. The second part is MOSTLY TRUE, because the exhortation can be read as "helping" push Congress along.

Read the Executive Order below:

Friday, September 18, 2020

NEW: U.S. Senate Moves To Confirm Tucson Judge, In Topsy-Turvy Battle

(This was initially published on our sister site, Arizona's Law.)

UPDATE 9/23, 1:45pm: Judge John Hinderaker was CONFIRMED by the U.S. Senate this afternoon, on a 70-27 vote. As expected, the vote was topsy-turvy, with almost all of the opposition to President Trump's nomination coming from Republican Senators. Both of Arizona's Senators voted "aye". (See below for statement.) 

This is a developing story and will be updated as warranted.

(UPDATE 9/23, 11am: This morning's cloture vote confirms the topsy-turvy nature of the Hinderaker nomination. Republicans cast 22 of the 26 votes against moving forward on the nomination, and Democrats' votes contstituted 42 of the 71 aye votes.)

(UPDATE 9/23, 9:35am: The Senate voted 71-26 this morning to close debate on the Hinderaker nomination. The vote to confirm him will take place this afternoon.)

President Donald Trump's nomination of Tucson Judge John Hinderaker to the District Court bench heads to the Senate floor on Monday after topsy-turvy behind-the-scenes maneuvering.

The Pima County Superior Court jurist was nominated for the lifetime position nearly one year ago. It has been stalled since March, after the Senate Judiciary Committee recommended his confirmation on a 16-6 vote. However, the six "no" votes all came from Republican Senators, apparently led by Missouri Senator Josh Hawley and concerns regarding the Second Amendment. Yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed the cloture motion to move it to the floor.

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) tells Arizona's Law that she is "pleased" to see the nomination moving to the vote next week. “Judge Hinderaker brings to the bench a wealth of legal knowledge, decades of litigation experience, and a stellar reputation for integrity and fairness. I’m pleased the White House worked with me to advance his nomination.”

If Hinderaker is confirmed next week, it will mean that Arizona's District Court bench will be at full strength for the first time in recent memory. Arizona's Senators did introduce a bill to increase the size of the Arizona bench, but it has not moved forward.

(thanks to Judicial Nominations Blog for the heads-up)


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Tuesday, September 8, 2020

BREAKING: Kanye Loses Arizona Supreme Court Appeal, Off the Ballot In Key Swing State

Sidestepping the issue of Kanye West's registration as a Republican in Wyoming, the Arizona Supreme Court nonetheless kept him off of Arizona's November 3 ballot. They instead based today's decision on the fact that the rapper/celebrity had not filed the legally-required Statement of Interest before collecting signatures to be placed on the ballot. That statute was recently enacted by the State Legislature.

The court challenge to West's last minute effort to get on the Arizona ballot was primarily based on the fact that both West and his slate of electors (for the Electoral College) were registered as Republican, and that he could thus not get on the ballot by collecting signatures as an independent candidate. The issue of the Statement of Interest became an after-thought, and the trial court judge did not address that requirement in his ruling last week.

To read the Supreme Court's Decision Order, please head over to Arizona's Law (our sister site).

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Friday, September 4, 2020

BREAKING: Arizona Political Consultants Owed $1.2M To Gather Iffy Signatures Nationally For Kanye West, Although West Lent His Committee $6.7M

So many updates on Kanye West's Presidential campaign, so little time on a pseudo-getaway afternoon.

1) Yesterday, Kanye's filing to get on the ballot in Arizona was rejected. His counsel immediately filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court, and the Court required briefs by 1:00pm. Today. Kanye's counsel filed a short memorandum, below, while the challengers relied on their filings in the trial court.

The Supreme Court will decide the appeal by Tuesday afternoon, as that is the hard deadline for several Arizona counties to send their ballots to the printers.

2) In their trial court pleadings, West's team indicated that they were planning to file additional petition signatures by today's filing deadline. HOWEVER, the trial court's Thursday Order keeping West off of the ballot also instructed the Arizona Secretary of State from accepting any additional filings.

But, even though the injunction is still in place pending the Supreme Court's decision, West petition gatherers went to Secretary of State Katie Hobbs' office to turn in an additional batch of signatures. They previously turned in more than 57,000 signatures with a requirement that more than 39,039 need to be valid. Today's batch would have brought them to "roughly 100,000" signatures.

However, the Secretary of State's Office did not accept them and, according to West consultant Gregg Keller, their attorneys were informed that the petitions would not be accepted. Keller is now posting on Twitter that there are protests outside the Capitol and tells Arizona's Politics that "dozens" of people are there. 

Video Keller provided shows about two dozen people in "Kanye West 2020" shirts mildly interested in the situation.



Arizona Star columnist Tim Steller published a well-reported piece Wednesday detailing the methods used to obtain some of those Arizona signatures. Those shirts get a mention, in fact. Must read.

3) Kanye's campaign committee finally filed its first finance report today, and it sheds some interesting light on the efforts to get on the ballot. (More to come.)

 *





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