Monday’s Arizona Capitol Times (yes, still behind a paywall, shut up) explains the “catalyst” of HB 2305, the voter suppression omnibus bill that opponents are gathering signatures to overturn in a referendum. The instigating event that led to the provision in HB 2305 that bars groups from collecting mail-in ballots and bringing them to the election center was this:
Because the volunteer used her maiden name, and because Valenzuela has worked for the Maricopa County Elections Department for almost 23 years and recognized the political clipboard, he couldn’t help but ask the visitor what he was doing.
The man, who was in his early 20s, said he “worked for elections” and he was checking if they had received early ballots.
It was Saturday, and Valenzuela was wearing his Maricopa County Elections Department shirt around the house. When he tried to call attention to this shirt, the young man didn’t get the hint. So Valenzuela told him straight up that he worked for the Maricopa County Elections Department and he had never seen the man around.
So the visitor backtracked on his statement, explaining that he was volunteering for a political organization helping with the election by registering people to vote. He then quickly left.
But a few months later, just before the November election, Valenzuela was again at home, and there was a knock at the door. His wife answered. She then went into the living room to ask Valenzuela what someone from the Elections Department was doing picking up ballots on a Saturday.
They weren’t, he told her. The Elections Department doesn’t pick up ballots.
Valenzuela, who is actually the Assistant Director of the Maricopa County Elections Department, went on to say that he didn’t call the cops on either volunteer because he “didn’t see any malice in their intentions”. Lucky for them, since impersonating an elections official is already a felony. It appears that what happened was simply a matter of insufficient training and overeager volunteers. There’s no need to pass an entirely new law prohibiting people from freely choosing to give their ballot to individuals or groups they trust because of it.
The Cap Times piece interviewed Jonathan Paton, who is heading up the pro-HB 2305 effort.
“They literally control thousands of ballots, when they deliver, if they deliver them. Are they combing through the ballots and finding out this guy is probably going to vote the wrong way, so maybe we’ll just forget to take his ballot to the polls,” he said.
Riiiiight. Groups supporting Democratic candidates are going into Democratic-heavy communities, collecting votes from Democrats and not turning them in because, yeah, that makes sense. This is, of course, a competing and contradictory claim to the one made by Republican legislators supporting HB 2305, such Sen. Kimberly Yee. Yee said “I know voter fraud is real” upon seeing a box of ballots that Citizens for a Better Arizona had brought to the elections department, suggesting that CBA brought in fraudulent ballots. So why then would groups need to “forget” to bring certain ballots in if they can just forge them all? HB 2305 backers are not even remotely logically consistent in their attempts to place nanny state intrusions on free association.