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Synopsis of Arizona's Battle Against Voter Suppression

See the following posted in General Discussion:

"Sinema versus McSally: Arizona's 2 Largest Counties Fighting Back Against Voter Suppression"


Go Sinema!
Posted by PandoraAwakened | Fri Nov 9, 2018, 06:25 PM (6 replies)

Sinema versus McSally: Arizona's 2 Largest Counties Fighting Back Against Voter Suppression

From the desk of: The American M.O.B. (Majority Opinion Blowback)

"My American M.O.B. over the GOP's Russian Mob any day, any time...Let's roll!"

PHOENIX -- If you're wondering what's going on with Arizona's vote count, here's an on-the-ground synopsis of what's happening:

First and foremost, there's a battle raging to combat the state's oppressive voter suppression laws and force a complete counting of Arizona's Early Ballot votes. In particular, the issue at hand is the easily manipulated and corruptible "signature match" law that has in the past enabled Republicans to discount large swaths of Democratic, Native American, Latino, and youth voters.

On one hand, you have the state's two largest counties, Maricopa and Pima (together comprising approximately 75% of the state's population) who decided to barrel ahead in counting their votes. On the other hand, you have Republicans doing what they always do best here: Run to the courts to get a judge to intervene and stop the vote count.

Why Republicans Want the Courts to Stop Vote Counting in Arizona

Late Wednesday, four county Republican parties filed a lawsuit against all Arizona County Recorders and the Secretary of State in an effort to stop "signature verification" of Early Ballots dropped off at the polls on Election Day as well as those arriving in the days just prior to the election:


UPDATE: A hearing on the matter occurred this morning in Maricopa County Superior Court. Judge Margaret R. Mahoney said in the hearing that it was too soon to require Maricopa and other counties to stop contacting voters to verify signatures on mail ballots. She also declined to order the counties to "temporarily separate mail ballots verified after Election Day":


The Republicans' increasingly feverish goal is to force continuance of a deceptive voter suppression tactic that has enabled them to remain in power several years past their time in Arizona---Early Ballots submitted near or on Election Day are NEVER COUNTED. The reason for this is because there is not enough time to complete the state-mandated signature verification by the state-mandated deadline of 7 pm Election Day, the point at which the state says counties are supposed to turn over "validated" ballot counts. These are the numbers from which races are called and voter statistics are created in Arizona.

So, how many Early Ballot votes are at stake? Well, that's the question of the day. Arizonans have never been allowed to know the true number of Early Ballots, particularly the ones not counted, and that's what the Republicans are desperate to prevent from coming out. Reportedly, 75% of the Arizona vote is cast using Early Ballots. The percentage not counted is unknown.

[In an interesting side note, a Republican troll attempted to dispute a separate Arizona story on DU by claiming that 90% of Arizona's vote is by Early Ballot. Given that all of the state's statistics, including those submitted to the federal government, show Arizona's highest Early Ballot total to be 75%, the troll was asked to cite his/her source. Amazingly, he cited himself as the source because he said he had worked at Arizona's Bureau of Elections and was in a position to know the "actual" total. When it was then pointed out that what he had just admitted to was that 15% of Arizona's actual vote was being suppressed in the Early Ballot process, he clammed up and disappeared.]

How "Early Ballot" Votes are Suppressed in Arizona

The important thing to understand about Early Ballot voting in Arizona is that this does NOT mean those ballots are necessarily cast early because voters can choose to either mail them or drop them off all the way up to and including Election Day at dropbox locations or at polling sites.

Republicans figured out years ago that the voter signature issue of Early Ballots is their "golden ticket" to suppressing the vote. First, as already noted, the time required by the very nature of the signature verification process eliminates Early Ballots cast late in the election process from ever being counted because state law crafted by Republicans prevents this.

In addition to later-arriving Early Ballots being ignored, Arizona state law also leaves it up to the counties to institute a hodge-podge of selective "signature match" voter suppression tactics in the weeks leading up to the election, including whether voters caught up in such baloney are ever notified that their votes were thrown out.

So how does this type of voter suppression work? In Arizona, early ballots have to be enclosed in the provided envelope; on the envelope is a tiny space where voters are required to sign. So, right off the bat, hapless voters who forget to sign the envelope are immediately disenfranchised and go into the "do not count" pile.

Next comes the completely manual "signature match" process completed by partisan hacks pretending to be "handwriting analysts" (even though every real handwriting analyst will tell you that you need at least 10 signature samples to even begin to make such comparisons).

The signatures on the Early Ballot envelopes are compared to the voter registration signatures on file. Remember that registration form you signed, perhaps while balancing a clipboard as you attended a community event where a get-out-the-vote drive was going on? Yeah, that signature. Does anyone remember exactly how they signed that form, which may have been years ago (a timeframe in which your signature has likely changed anyway)?

Some Arizona county officials will take the extra step of comparing the ballot envelope signature with the motor vehicle database containing signatures for driver's licenses and state-issued IDs. But, therein is another potential snag. What if your voter registration signature isn't exactly like your driver's license? What if one of them uses just your middle initial but the other uses your full middle name? This can become yet another excuse to throw out your vote if you're not registered with the "right" party from the point of view of the county worker performing the "handwriting analysis."

For an up-close look at "exact-match signature" voter suppression occurring in Arizona this election cycle, see the following story posted this past Sunday:


Additionally, Arizona's numerous other voter suppression laws present a labyrinth of "gotcha" provisions. For example, if you happen to find out in advance that there's a problem with your Early Ballot signature, short of marching yourself down to the County Recorder's Office to deal with it, you will likely be told to just go ahead and vote using a "Provisional Ballot." The problem with that, however, is that once you cast the Provisional Ballot after you've already cast an Early Ballot, by state law your vote can be thrown out because you voted twice!

Importance of Maricopa County Votes

Maricopa County, home of the state capital in Phoenix, contains approximately ~61% of Arizona's population. As the fourth largest county in the entire country, calling it huge is an understatement. It includes not just Phoenix, but all of the sprawling suburbs and towns out to the desert on three sides and to the low mountains at the north.

In Maricopa County alone, Democratic County Recorder Adrian Fontes, who won his position in 2016 running on a platform of fighting Arizona's notorious voter suppression, reported on Election Day that there were still 50,000 Early Ballots dropped prior to polls opening that needed to make it through the signature verification process. The day after the elections, local news stations were reporting that another 100,000-150,000 Early Ballots were submitted by voters on Election Day at the polling stations in Maricopa County.

Then, Fontes reported last night that there were 345,000 Maricopa County ballots yet to be processed. He further stated that the county's outdated vote-counting machines, of which there are too few in number for the size of the county, are only capable of processing 75,000 votes a day---and that's after the lengthy signature verification process.

Why Pima County is a Prime Target of Republicans' Legal Challenges

On October 24, prior to the election, the American Civil Liberties Union, League of United Latin American Citizens, League of Women Voters of Arizona, and several other groups wrote to Arizona's Republican Secretary of State, Michele Reagan, asking her to instruct the rest of the counties to follow Pima County's lead in contacting voters whose Early Ballots are at risk of being discarded:


Reagan rejected the letter by claiming she "doesn't have the authority to tell the counties what to do" in the lead-up to an election, suggesting this was instead an issue for the courts. No, seriously, that's what the Secretary of State, who is in charge of the elections, said.

The naming of all the state's County Recorder Offices along with the Secretary of State in the Republican lawsuit filed Wednesday is nothing more than a smokescreen to provide legal cover. The actual targets where Republicans want the vote counting to stop are Maricopa County (for the obvious reasons described above) and Pima County because Republicans are royally pissed that Pima had the audacity to kick this hornet's nest in the first place.

Pima County comprises the second largest Arizona population (approximately 14.5%). Its major city, Tucson, is a Democratic stronghold. This is the ONLY county in the entire state that makes a sincere effort to track down voters with Early Ballot signature issues, including not only illegibility and potential signature-matching problems, but also all the no-signature ballots of people who completely forget to sign in the tiny box on the outside of the Early Ballot envelope.

In addition to providing an online ballot-status site for voters, Pima County uses telephone, email, and in-person visits to notify voters of Early Ballot issues, giving them the chance to have their votes counted. More specifically, Pima is the only county that will do so even for Early Ballots cast on or near election day, thus typically holding up the calling of some races...like the Senate race between Sinema and McNasty.

Pima has been doing this for 15 years and Republicans are hopping mad about the county's continuance to do so after their party went through great pains in the Republican-controlled courts here to tighten the noose on voter suppression. According to the Arizona Republican Party, counties are only allowed to make such efforts "if time permits," in other words, by 7 pm on Election Day. This is the same legal loophole that allows Early Ballots cast on Election Day to be rejected outright because time will have run out to verify the signatures, let alone deal with any discrepancies.

However, in a bit of creative legal jujitsu, Pima County is turning one of the Republicans' own voter suppression laws against them in order to give itself the time to verify signatures of all Early Ballots cast and resolve any signature issues with voters:

Informally called the "challenge law," this is the law that allows county election officials to come in after previously cleared votes have already been counted for a race and "challenge" just enough ballots to change close elections. In the past, with Republicans in control of the Maricopa County Recorder's Office, this was used to great effect to help them win elections.

The way the challenge law works is this: If your vote is challenged, you have until 5 pm on the Monday after Election Day to jump through whatever new hoops are demanded to make your vote count---crazy stuff like having to bring in three recent utility bills to prove you live where you say you live, or additional ID to prove you are who you say you are even though the county had already supposedly verified all that through signature matching. This is why it's important for Arizona voters to continue checking their ballot status on the Secretary of State's website even in the days following an election.

In a move that angered Republicans to no end, Pima County claimed its rights under the "challenge law." But instead of using it to suppress votes, county officials challenged all the later-arriving Early Ballots, giving themselves until Monday night to finish verifying signatures and contacting voters having ballot problems, like forgotten and illegible signatures. This move, in turn, gave the Maricopa County Recorder's Office the incentive it needed to continue verifying and counting its Early Ballot votes also.

Thus, we see that the real impetus for the Republicans' hissy-fit lawsuit (and the next one that's sure to follow) is to try to yet again use Arizona's court system as a political bludgeon to beat Pima County into line for once and for all…especially now that it looks like the much more dangerous prospect, Maricopa County, has decided that it too wants to do justice by its Early Ballot voters.

Posted by PandoraAwakened | Fri Nov 9, 2018, 05:48 PM (9 replies)

tRump Was an Ass Even as a Teenager

The picture on the left in the OP of teen tRump in a "military" uniform is real (obviously, the text underneath is fake). Here's the skinny:

We all remember that bully in school who thought every prank and every mean act they engaged in was worthy of laughter and applause. Ever notice how those same guys always had a small gang of like-minded boys that they "led" so as as to assure their narcissistic "fix"?

At his private middle school (junior high) in Queens, NY, that guy was tRump. Now, this school, the Kew-Forest School, was a very small, "elite" academy. Thus, the antics that the orange buffoon led his gang into committing were quite noticeable, so much so that by the end of his eighth grade year and after many "consults" between the principal and his parents, the school finally said, "You're outta here!"

Meanwhile, at home, tRump also was acting out and, while daddy indulged his golden child's every whim, mommy dearest finally set her foot down when tRump started being abusive to her at the tender, young age of 15. That's when the decision was made to kick him out of the house. Off to military school for you, young man! Oh sure, that'll straighten him right up.

So, they shipped him upstate to the New York Military Academy, which is where the above picture comes from. So, how the hell did this guy end up making it through four years of military high school? Well, the commanders figured out fairly quickly that this kid was dumb as a box of rocks because he had spent all of grade school and middle school patting himself on the back for being the #1 troublemaker. So, what to do with him? Easy: They kept him busy by putting him on every single sports team they had---football, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, wrestling, and even bowling (no shit).

So, how did he do? Well, he became known as the campus' biggest sports asshole, playing way too aggressively, constantly breaking rules, and, of course, cheating. The academy by and large just looked the other way because they felt it was at least better than him acting out in class.

Four years later, they gladly got rid of him with barely passing grades. Other than his involvement in sports, the only award tRump achieved in his entire time there was a medal for "neatness and order" (shades of authoritarianism?). The only "power" position they entrusted him with was that of Honor Guard Commanding Officer---yes, he led the military parades!

So, now you know the real story.
Posted by PandoraAwakened | Wed Nov 7, 2018, 09:44 PM (0 replies)

URGENT---Check Your Early & Absentee Ballots Online NOW: Do NOT Yield to Voter Suppression!

From the desk of: The American M.O.B. (Majority Opinion Blowback)

"My American M.O.B. over the GOP's Russian Mob any day, any time...Let's roll!"

URGENT ACTION NECESSARY: Check online to make sure your Early Ballot was not only received, but COUNTED!!!

"Exact-match signature" is in play in Arizona, as I'm sure it is in many other states. This past Friday, I had planned to knock on more doors, but found myself face-to-face with the proverbial "one in the hand is worth three in the bush" situation: Instead of canvassing, I ended up driving all the way up to NAU to bring my son's college friend back to where he is a registered voter because his straight-Dem vote was at risk of being suppressed.

The problem was that his mailed Early Ballot was going to be rejected because he had completed his voter registration using his full middle name, whereas he signed the green return envelope containing his ballot with his middle initial! Plus, his signature didn't look "exactly" like how he signed his driver's license, which, funny enough, is signed using just his middle initial! He found out about it after checking the status of his ballot on the Secretary of State's online site, which I had told my own son to do, who, in turn, had told his friends.

This young man is an 18-year-old, first-time voter who had no idea what to do when he discovered that his vote wasn't going to count. His own Rethuglican parents have turned their backs on him because he's gay. When he called his mother about it, she said, "Well, maybe this is God telling you that 'your kind' shouldn't be voting." Ughhh!!!!

This is a straight-A student on a 4-year college scholarship who also works part-time because even scholarships don't cover all necessities. While he does have a driver's license, he doesn't own a car and neither does anyone else in his group of friends, so he had no way of getting home to fix the problem. His parents haven't paid a damn penny toward his education and they couldn't be bothered to lift a finger to help him exercise his civic duty either. I swear, these Repugs never cease to disgust me.

My son told me that when his friend came to him on Thursday all depressed about losing out on his first chance to vote, my son said, "We gotta call my mom. She'll know what to do. She don't take no shit from anyone." Aww, bless his heart. [And yes, I did correct his language when he told me that---the word is "doesn't," not "don't," and the double-negative is a no-no. 😉]


At the crack of dawn Friday, I made the 3-hour drive up to the mountains, picked them both up (thankfully, neither have Friday classes, although my son's friend did have to get off from work), drove 3 hours back to the desert, went straight to the County Recorder's Office where we got that mess straightened out, stopped for lunch, drove 3 hours back up to NAU, dropped them at their dorm, and drove 3 hours back again where I was welcomed home by hubby with a tall glass of red wine---after which I promptly fell asleep without eating dinner.

The moral of this story is:

Check your Early Ballots online RIGHT NOW! Do not count on anyone notifying you of a problem, particularly if you're a registered Dem, a first-time voter, or have a Latino surname.

Additionally, if you have a son or daughter away at college who has voted via Early or Absentee Ballot, make sure they and their friends check online TODAY to be sure their votes are going to be counted. You only have 1 more day to fix this, guys. After the election won't count.

Arizonans can check their ballots at the following Secretary of State site: https://voter.azsos.gov/VoterView/AbsenteeBallotSearch.do

VOTERS IN OTHER STATES: Check online for your Secretary of State's Office and look for a ballot status link. [If you're in Kansas, forget that; Kobach has removed the links that would normally allow you to check either "Early Ballots" or "Provisional Ballots."] Another option is to check online with your County Recorder's Office. Many use their own software separate from the Sec. of State that you can check with.

Finally, if you find others who are being marginalized with "exact match signature" suppression, do everything you can to resolve the issue by getting them to their County Recorder's Office. Also, make sure they bring with them every piece of ID they own, including voter ID card if they received one after registering and most definitely a government-issued photo ID (driver's license, passport, etc.).

It is up to everyone to do everything in their power to FIGHT THIS VOTER SUPPRESSION BULLSHIT at every turn and at every instance it rears its ugly head.

Nobody ever said stepping into Wonder Woman's shoes would be easy, but, yeah, that's just how [email protected]*king important this election is at this critical juncture in our history. So, put on your Superman cape or rev up the Batmobile, whatever superhero mojo you need to get you through the extra mile on this one.

Tick-tock…1 day and counting.

Posted by PandoraAwakened | Sun Nov 4, 2018, 02:14 PM (77 replies)

Oprah: If You Don't Vote, You're 'Dishonoring' Your Ancestors Who Couldn't

Source: Huffington Post

Oprah Winfrey on Thursday delivered a powerful message to attendees of a town hall in support of Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams: Don’t dishonor your ancestors by failing to vote in the midterm elections.

The media mogul invoked the story of Otis Moss Sr., who had walked 18 miles to vote in an election but was told he was too late to cast a ballot. He died before he was able to finally vote in the next election.

“For anybody here who has an ancestor who didn’t have the right to vote and you are choosing not to vote wherever you are in this state, in this country, you are dishonoring your family,” Winfrey said at an event in Marietta on Thursday.

“You are disrespecting and disregarding their legacy, their suffering and their dreams when you don’t vote,” she added.

Read more: https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/oprah-winfrey-stacey-abrams-ancestors_us_5bdb35ade4b019a7ab5b4f58

Oprah Video Excerpt: https://twitter.com/twitter/statuses/1058049834085765123

Inspiring and uplifting: GO VOTE!

From the desk of: The American M.O.B. (Majority Opinion Blowback)

"My American M.O.B. over the GOP's Russian Mob any day, any time...Let's roll!"
Posted by PandoraAwakened | Thu Nov 1, 2018, 09:21 PM (9 replies)
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