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What the Devil won't tell you

Election fraudit: The fix is in, but it may be no fix at all for what ails Arizona's GOP

Shocker: Trump-boosting One America News Network is reporting that a review of 2.1 million presidential election ballots conducted by Donald Trump loyalists is finding "systemic voter fraud." 

In other news, Mom says I won the Pulitzer Prize.

Two previous audits and a recount found no fraud. But those weren't conducted by the firm CyberNinjas led by "Stop the Steal" howler monkey Doug Logan. None of the previous reviews were commissioned for the purpose of perpetuating the lie that Donald Trump won the 2020 presidential election.

Logan has barred journalists from the Coliseum where this shambolic bumble of a supposed "audit" is taking place. One member of the press allowed to observe on Friday told Logan that the "auditors" were illegally using blue pens, which could be used to change votes. He forbade her from reporting from the building.

The Arizona Democratic Party momentarily convinced a judge Friday to stop the audit but the judge insisted the Democrats indemnify the Cyber Ninja team with $1 million. The Dems refused. The "audit" continued but — wait for it — the judge insisted the CyberNinja team write down their procedures to be sure they follow state law. Now the legislative Republicans want to seal all the processes and procedures from public scrutiny, claiming proprietary business information.

Audits by their nature are not "proprietary." They follow a standard of professional guidelines and typically show their work after outlining their methodology.

If this "fraudit" were any more in the tank for the Donald John Trump, it would have gills and fins. 

Take heart, Arizona. This "fraudit" is being done so all Arizonans can have confidence in the way the state's elections are run. So it's vital that it be conducted in total secret, with no one watching and without agreeing to any rules. For God sakes, don't tell us who is paying for it.

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These Trumpists are asking for the right to commit election fraud and have the courts assist in the cover-up. This exercise has one goal: to provide a state document "confirming" the 2020 election results should not be trusted by the voters. That way Fox News, Newsmax and One America News Network (which raised some of the money for this thing I will not call an audit) can report that Arizona found decisive evidence Trump won the state. 

The insistence on adamant ignorance reminds me of wildly inappropriate Onion TV report about Georgia authorities determined to find the black man responsible for the bear mauling of a white woman. 

It's obvious to everyone what is going on. If you are a part of MAGAville, you will eat it up. If not, you'll spit it out.

Conspiracies are best done quietly. These guys have the whole world watching. They are about as "shadowy Ninja" as a gaggle of teenage girls who ran into BTS at Fry's.

The fraudit isn't the solution to Republican problems in Arizona. It's a festering symptom of the state's condition, shifting from red to blue. 

It's not the voters, it's you

A little bit of advice, Republicans: When you lose an election, the smart play is to pretend the election never happened. It's not to insist voters re-live — over and over —  the day they decided they didn't much like you.

Telling voters who voted against you that they really didn't win, won't win them back.

The Republicans are losing because they seem more interested in proving how drunk they are on Trumpism than how soberly they are capable of governing.

In the most recent polling, President Joe Biden has a higher job approval (55 percent) in Arizona than does Gov. Doug Ducey (43 percent).

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Republican candidates in Maricopa County never used to fear cute little Democratic challenges. In 2020, they were running for their lives and securing narrow victories.

Biden won Maricopa County — long the anchor keeping the state in the Red Sea — after the Phoenix area swung five points away from Republicans between 2016 and 2020. If it swings just another 3 points, the GOP is dead statewide. 

I still believe this is a Republican state in the mold of even a Jon Kyl. Dull, fringe in his apathy toward empathy, but serious and studied. Arizonans will still vote for the intimidating uncle but are less and less inclined to go for the one who needs a helmet.

The state government has actually done a couple things this year that is out-of-character helpful and forgiving. Ducey has signed bills raising the weekly unemployment insurance benefit and restored driver’s licenses to traffic offenders who haven’t paid.

Yet those measures of moderation have been drowned out by bills to criminalize public protest and combat voter fraud, which only exists in parts per million. 

Voter fraud didn't beat the Republicans. They did that all by themselves. It's not us, the voters. It's you in those stupid red hats.

Banning what they're bad at 

The national media erroneously repeats that this is a solution in search of a problem. Oh, there's a problem, alright. Republicans in Arizona and Georgia are starting to lose elections they used to win. So the state governments went straight to changing voter rules so that only the right people vote and they can win with minority rule.

Everyone should be able to vote hassle free so these efforts are an anathema to democracy. Right. Fine. Yeah. With ya, Lefties. My question is: Do Republicans  understand how to tailor an electorate to their liking? I'm not thinking so.

Just follow me here for a second:

A bill now that failed in the state Senate but is still very much in the chamber would purge voters from the state’s permanent early voting list if the voter fails to vote by mail in two straight elections.

They aren’t purging those voters from the rolls. Those voters just won’t get sent them a ballot in the mail. They’ll have to vote in person. The bill, of course, is designed to reduce the number of voters at the margins so one party (theirs) wins close elections.

Alright. I understand the theory.

But the GOP just spent the last election cycle arguing that vote by mail is the devil's work. Voters who voted by mail voted Democrat. Voters who voted at the polls in the way God intended in the Book of Ivanka cast their ballots MAGA-style.

So if Republican voters are voting in person and failing to vote by mail will remove those voters from the PEVL, aren’t Republicans putting their own voters at more risk of being removed than Democrats?

There's a broader problem here. The Republican Party has nationally decided to undergo something of a transformation from the party of business and the well-to-do and into a party of disaffected and disenfranchised working class Americans.

Democrats have been representing those voters for years. I know what they know. What they know is those voters are hard to get to the polls. It helps to make voting as easy as possible.

Meanwhile, Democrats are suddenly banking the well-educated "elites" the GOP once claimed as their own.  It's no problem getting them to vote. They'll just show up. 

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The Republicans are trading high-efficacy, highly-educated voters for low-efficacy, low-education voters and then making it harder to vote. I don’t get it.

Leave it to state Rep. John Kavanaugh, R-Fountain Hills, to give the game away in an interview with CNN because he never shuts up.

"There's a fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans," Kavanagh said. "Democrats value as many people as possible voting, and they're willing to risk fraud. Republicans are more concerned about fraud, so we don't mind putting security measures in that won't let everybody vote -- but everybody shouldn't be voting."

He pointed to Democrats' emphasis on registering voters and pursuing those who have not returned ballots -- tactics that Republicans have successfully implemented in other swing states -- and said doing so means that "you can greatly influence the outcome of the election if one side pays people to actively and aggressively go out and retrieve those ballots."

Exactly. The Republicans problem isn't voter fraud. It's with organizing because they suck at it. They still run field operations, just not as well as the Democrats. So the real goal is to outlaw the campaign operation they routinely flub.

I wrote just before the election that the GOP attack on early voting so hobbled their own get out the vote operation that they could lose a close election because of it.

Well ... yeah.

Tri-cornered retort

Republicans are willing to deny voting rights based on their paranoid delusions but argue a non-existent right to be free from masks must be sacrosanct in the face of a virus that's killed 18,000 Arizonans. 

If ignorance is reason to keep people from voting then we should bar anyone who watches OAN.

That's one way to do a voter purge, I guess. 

Kavanagh is arguing the most important part of an election is to keep the wrong people from voting rather than let the people decide the direction of the state. Thanks Chairman Xi.

Allow me to play Mark Finchem, the Oath-Keeping, founder-quoting originalist state representative from Oro Valley, who missed the memo about handlebar mustaches and judicial review.

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The Declaration of Independence is rather clear that government draws its just powers "from the consent of the governed.” The governed includes those affected by laws the government institutes. Thomas Jefferson wasn't referring to whomever some retired cop in Arizona thinks is ill-informed.

The Declaration of Independence draws heavily from the Virginia Declaration of Rights, which outlines in Section 6 who should be able to vote:

That elections of members to serve as representatives of the people, in assembly ought to be free; and that all men, having sufficient evidence of permanent common interest with, and attachment to, the community, have the right of suffrage and cannot be taxed or deprived of their property for public uses without their own consent or that of their representatives so elected, nor bound by any law to which they have not, in like manner, assembled for the public good.

So wouldn’t a party that believes in minority rule disqualify themselves from voting because they are showing detachment from and not attachment to the community?

And then there is James Madison in Federalist No. 10 warning us of the danger of partisan factionalism overwhelming the idea of the public good.

AMONG the numerous advantages promised by a well constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. The friend of popular governments never finds himself so much alarmed for their character and fate, as when he contemplates their propensity to this dangerous vice.

And this directly relates to the vote:

If a faction consists of less than a majority, relief is supplied by the republican principle, which enables the majority to defeat its sinister views by regular vote. It may clog the administration, it may convulse the society; but it will be unable to execute and mask its violence under the forms of the Constitution. When a majority is included in a faction, the form of popular government, on the other hand, enables it to sacrifice to its ruling passion or interest both the public good and the rights of other citizens.

Nailed it! The Republicans are trying to undo the popular remedy to the problem that is them.

If Kavanaugh is ignorant about the roots of the oldest constitutional Republic on Earth, can I disqualify him from voting? Is there a form somewhere to nix him from the voting rolls if he can’t quote Federalist No. 10 or Federalist No. 39 (which I left on the cutting-room floor)?

Crayola fraud-its don't work

We should define citizenship as you standing up for my rights and me standing up for yours. A lot of us have problems with how the Arizona Republican Legislature does its job but we’re not out there questioning its legitimacy to do that job after a free election.

I’ve argued and will continue to argue that Democrats' problem with voters isn’t that too many inbred rednecks vote. The party hasn’t figured out how to translate its popular positions on a host of issues into a sense that they are responsible enough to effectively govern.

Republicans might want to do some self-examination about why swing voters think they are bat guano crazy instead of obsessing on hissyfits.

No one is going to buy the results of a fraudit that confirms the Legislature's bias. Ganking the operation this badly doesn't help. 

What will this un-ninja-like review going to look like in 20 years? It's going to look like it was written in crayon. That is ... heh ... heh ... heh ... assuming the Republic survives the MAGAs. 

Democracy would be in a lot more trouble if these guys knew what they were doing.

Blake Morlock is an award-winning columnist who worked in daily journalism for nearly 20 years and is the former communications director for the Pima County Democratic Party. Now he’s telling you things that the Devil won’t.


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Jim Small/Arizona Mirror

Republicans in the Legislature say Arizonans voted wrong and fraudulently to hand the GOP defeats in 2020. And they will have a 'fraudit' to prove it.

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