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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