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Gilbert’s 2014 was filled with a mix of progress and tumult among its governing entities. Its main school district continued to earn high marks but still went through a contentious year, while the town government itself currently faces a suit in the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Why does Mitch McConnell, a man who got an average of 723,000 votes when getting elected to the Senate, think he can politically bully a man who averaged 67.7 million votes when getting elected as president? Know your place, Senator.”
Another election season has come and gone. You might reasonably conclude that, once again, no ballot fraud occurred in Arizona, from the absence of any news accounts. But that’s almost certainly not true.
When the stock market crashed in 2008, most Americans, one way or another, were badly hurt. But not all. Barack Obama’s then chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, saw it as a golden opportunity to jump-start the new administration’s agenda.
PHOENIX -- Close to one out of every seven votes cast this year will come from Hispanics, according to a non-partisan organization promoting Latino turnout.
Close to one out of every seven votes cast this year will come from Hispanics, according to a non-partisan organization promoting Latino turnout. And group members predict that large percentage of them will vote for Democrats — but not necessarily because of what those candidates offer, but how Republicans are campaigning.
With the 2014 election less than a week away, it’s important to remember that an election is a job review for legislators and elected officials. Let’s review.
I appreciate your paper’s current coverage of the race for Arizona attorney general. Our state has been served badly by the abuse of power by the current incumbent. To restore integrity, we need an attorney general who is both highly qualified and fully committed to remove politics from that office.
PHOENIX (AP) — A coalition of Arizona advocacy groups defended its practice Wednesday of dropping off early ballots for voters.
The grassroots organizations are facing an outcry in the wake of surveillance video posted last week that shows a volunteer hand-delivering numerous ballots to a Maricopa County elections office a day before the Aug. 26 primary.
"It's a nonstory. Nothing that they did was illegal," said Tony Navarrete, a spokesman for immigration advocacy group Promise Arizona. "It was them making the promise to voters that they were going to turn in their ballots during the primary."
The video has been viewed more than 360,000 times on YouTube.
A.J. LaFaro, the Republican Party's chairman for Maricopa County, said he witnessed the man, who is a canvasser for Citizens for a Better Arizona, dropping off a box full of ballots.
Lafaro said "ballot harvesting" raises issues about the security of those ballots before they're counted, even though signatures on ballot envelopes are checked by election workers.
"From the time those ballots are mailed to the time they're turned back in, lots of things can happen," LaFaro said.
Ramiro Luna, Citizens for a Better Arizona field director, criticized LaFaro and others for referring to canvassers as "thugs." According to Luna, canvassers knock on doors —mostly in Hispanic communities — and encourage voters to participate. But they are trained not to touch a ballot or mark it in any way, he said.
"The ballot is something we keep as sacred. It is between the voter and the election department. All we are doing is providing a service to make sure the ballot is counted and is turned in on time," Luna said.
LaFaro acknowledged the Republican Party has been doing the same thing when it sends get-out-the-vote volunteers to canvass neighborhoods.
"On occasion we offer to take their ballot and deliver it for them," LaFaro said. "If it's not illegal, we're going to make that offer."
But he argued it was on a much smaller scale compared to Democratic-leaning groups.
"We don't comprehend, nor do we subscribe to what we see out there on the progressive-socialist side," LaFaro said. "That gentleman bringing in several hundred ballots, what function does that serve? We still cannot comprehend why they do it."
Maricopa County Elections spokesman Daniel Ruiz said there is no law covering how a ballot gets to the poll. What counts is whether the ballot is signed and the signature can be verified. However, voters who don't plan on mailing a ballot or dropping it off in person should make sure to give it to someone they trust, Ruiz added.
LaFaro said he will urge the Legislature to change the law when it returns in January to make the process illegal.
The collection of ballots by groups like Citizens for a Better Arizona has become an issue in the Arizona secretary of state's race. The practice would have been banned under a major 2013 election law rewrite that the Legislature repealed this year after opponents collected enough signatures to send it to the ballot.
"I see no reason why any individual, whether it's a candidate themselves, a campaign operative, a party individual, myself, you, anybody, should be in possession of an extraordinary number of ballots," Republican candidate Michele Reagan said at an Oct. 7 debate. "It creates a system where there is an opportunity for fraud, and that is not acceptable."
Democrat Terry Goddard agreed that banning mass collections should be considered, within limits.
"I agree that what Sen. Reagan occasionally calls harvesting is wrong and whatever that means should be abolished," Goddard said, while warning that not all collections should be banned. "Let's look carefully before we jump, because the thing at stake is your right and my right to vote, and it seems to me that under every circumstance we ought to protect that right."
PHOENIX -- Rejecting claims his congressional privilege was violated, a federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the convictions of Rick Renzi on charges of extortion, fraud, conspiracy and racketeering.
The three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals acknowledged that members of Congress are entitled to certain constitutional protections from being questioned about their official acts. And that generally would extend to members of the congressman's staff.
But Judge Richard Tallman, writing for the unanimous court, said Renzi opened the door when he attempted to use his own legislative acts as a defense in the criminal case. And that, the judge said, allowed prosecutors to then question Renzi's staffers about the acts to make their case that he was lying.
"The rationale makes sense,'' Tallman wrote. "A congressman cannot claim the protections of the privilege when he himself introduces the volatile evidence.''
Thursday's action not only upholds the 17-count conviction following his trial in Tucson but the three-year prison term imposed on him last year. The appellate court, which had allowed him to remain free during the appeal, made no mention in Thursday's ruling when he would be ordered to report.
The main charge relates to efforts by Resolution Copper Co. to acquire land from the federal government it needs to begin mining near Superior.
According to testimony, Renzi, first elected to Congress from the sprawling district in 2002, agreed to sponsor legislation to authorize Resolution to get the land through a swap with environmentally sensitive land the federal government wanted. But Renzi said that land that Resolution had to buy and offer had to be a 640-acre parcel of land in Cochise County, adjacent to the San Pedro River, which was owned by James Sandlin.
Bruno Hegner, a former Resolution executive, told jurors of an angry phone call from Renzi in 2005 that "unless the Sandlin property were included in the exchange package, he would not sponsor legislation.'' And Hegner said when he attempted to explain the difficulties of such a deal, Renzi said, "no Sandlin property, no bill.''
Prosecutors said Renzi's interest in that property was that Sandlin, a former business partner, owed him $700,000 and needed the cash to pay off the debt. And when Hegner found out the pair had been in business together, the company opted not to purchase the Cochise County property and Renzi's swap legislation died.
He left Congress at the end of 2008 after his indictment but before his trial. To date, Congress has yet to approve a deal with Resolution to acquire the land it wants near Superior.
Renzi also was convicted of a separate effort to get Sandlin's property purchased by The Aries
Group as a condition of pushing a separate exchange of federal land the company wanted near Florence. Court records show Aries paid Sandlin $1.5 million in principal plus another $153,000 in interest but that a federal land exchange bill with Aries never was introduced.
And he also was found guilty of separate offenses that he embezzled insurance premiums paid by clients of his brokerage firm.
Thursday's ruling is unlikely the last word.
"We are disappointed with the court's ruling,'' said Kelly Kramer, one of Renzi's Washington, D.C. attorneys. "We intend to seek further appellate review.''
Among the arguments Kramer presented was that Renzi was interested in having Sandlin's land acquired because it was being leased to a farmer who was pumping a lot of water from the San Pedro watershed. And that drain of water, in turn, endangered the future of Fort Huachuca.
That is what made crucial the testimony Renzi sought to block from Joanne Keene, his former congressional district director.
She told jurors that Renzi "did not seem very excited and interested in the Resolution Copper exchange'' when the Sandlin tract was not longer part of it.'' And Keene also said Renzi told her he "wanted to put the brakes on'' the Aries exchange after Congressman Duke Cunningham had been indicted on charges of public corruption.
In Thursday's ruling, Tallman said both conversations were admissible because they went directly to counter Renzi's arguments there were different reasons for his actions.
Rejecting claims his congressional privilege was violated, a federal appeals court on Thursday upheld the convictions of Rick Renzi on charges of extortion, fraud, conspiracy and racketeering.
Arizona’s candidates for attorney general clashed over immigration issues, campaign finances and their respective bona fides during a forum on Sept. 25.
Past generations of Americans defied the odds to achieve the right to participate in the political process — overcoming menacing threats of violence, arrest, and coercion, all to earn the right to vote. As United States citizens, we pride ourselves on living in a country that has become the standard-bearer of democratic values worldwide. But a troubling pattern has taken hold, threatening this distinction for generations to come.
Incumbent Attorney General Tom Horne lashed out Monday night at “liberal media” and “a small, self-selected group of people” for trying to derail his reelection bid.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has called for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne to resign from office.
Attorney General Tom Horne is lashing out at a former staffer who charges he is using his office to campaign for reelection even as he opens a court fight over whether he broke the law in 2010 to get elected the first time.
Left-wing politicians loudly proclaim their concern for the poor and minorities. But is it a fraud?
Left-wing politicians loudly proclaim their concern for the poor and minorities. But is it a fraud?
A federal judge on Wednesday ordered the Election Assistance Commission to require would-be Arizona voters to provide proof of citizenship when they register.
“To all the victims of human trafficking out there: We have not forgotten you. To the criminal traffickers, say: Your days are numbered,” Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said during her State of the State Address as she signed an order to abolish CPS.
In a rebuff to state officials, the head of the federal Elections Assistance Commission has rejected Arizona's request to require proof of citizenship by those using a federal form to register to vote.
“To all the victims of human trafficking out there: We have not forgotten you. To the criminal traffickers, say: Your days are numbered.”
Unable to get elected governor in three tries, Democrat Terry Goddard is now hoping to get to the state's No. 2 spot.
The state Court of Appeals will not order new procedures for how Pima County — and potentially others — handle and count their ballots in future elections.
PHOENIX – Saying it's a matter of the state's rights, Attorney General Tom Horne wants the U.S. Supreme Court to let Arizona cut Medicaid funding to Planned Parenthood simply because that organization also provides abortions with private dollars.