August 26, 2004
A political consultant from Ahwatukee Foothills illegally asked Republican voters to request early primary ballots through him to build a campaign database to help socalled "pro-family" candidates for the Legislature, a Maricopa County judge ruled Wednesday.
Constantin Querard was ordered to immediately turn over any remaining early ballot requests to county officials and to keep his voter database confidential, at least until a hearing next week.
Afterward, Querard said he is already complying with the details of the judge’s order, so he didn’t expect the ruling to have any immediate impact.
But two state lawmakers from the East Valley who have sued Querard said the political consultant won’t be able to sell or offer his voter database to strongly conservative Republicans seeking to defeat moderate legislative candidates in the Sept. 7 primary.
"I believe he doesn’t have the right to share it at this point," said House Speaker Pro Tem Bob Robson, RChandler.
Querard is under legal attack for sending out a July 8 flier to an estimated 20,000 Republicans in four legislative districts asking them to request early ballots. Critics said the flier was designed to deceive people into thinking it came from the Republican Party.
Last week, Robson and state Sen. Carolyn Allen, RScottsdale, joined the county Republican Party in a civil lawsuit intended to force Querard to surrender all ballot requests and his voter database.
County elections director Karen Osborne testified Wednesday that, on several occasions, Querard turned in thousands of ballot requests in a single bundle and some had postmarks at least a month old.
The county is required to send out early ballots within 48 hours of receiving a request, Osborne said, and candidates or political committees should have to forward such requests within a couple of days. Otherwise, voters who live out-of-state could receive their early ballots too late to be counted, she said.