The September 1st deadline to resolve the issue of the Arizona Presidential Preference Election (PPE) has come and gone. However, that has not stopped the bitching and bickering by some members of the Republican Party against others. There has also been a very thorough 9-page response by AZGOP Chairman Jeff Dewit.
The issue at hand is the passing by the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) of a resolution on August 26, six days before the deadline, demanding that the AZGOP cancel the PPE in favor of another method of choosing a presidential nominee, more to the liking of those who voted for it. The resolution is several pages long, but the demand itself consists of two items:
The resolution passed by 19 yes and 5 no votes. There were 5 abstentions and one member was absent. Among those who voted, here is how the vote went:
|1st VC||Shelby Busch||Y|
Some proponents of this resolution have, very irresponsibly, resorted to personal attacks on Jeff Dewit via social media and emails. Here are some examples:
“Dewit Desperate to Avoid Vote Sends Lying Pandering Email Playing Victim”
“Dewit Betrays Arizona & Trump Blocks Vote on Hand count Election Not Run by Adrian Fontes”
“Dewit is going back on his word and citing a bogus excuse that is obviously a proven lie. He has betrayed Trump and Arizona and is a Uniparty RINO and cannot be trusted with 1 cent of Trumps money and must be removed from office.”
By contrast, Dewit has chosen to respond by pointing out some of the reasons why doing away with the PPE is not a good idea. The full response, all 9 pages of it, may be viewed by going to the AZ Peoples lobbyists website here.
The following are just some of the major points made by Dewit:
“Due to the MCRC not ever even mentioning this idea until six days before the legal deadline, by the time they introduced the proposal it was already too late to hold the Executive Committee vote to withdraw from the Presidential Preference Primary. I am concerned by the few voices we have heard who have suggested that we suspend or ignore our Bylaws, which cannot be acceptable.”
The MCRC chairman’s response that the short notice was the result of MCRC personnel involved in other matters of importance makes perfectly good sense, but it does not negate the fact that a 6-day notice was not enough to put together a proper course of action by the AZGOP.
HOW IS IT FUNDED AND IS IT LEGAL
“Another potential issue, which we found too late to have vetted by counsel but will do so if needed is a new law that was passed. This law aims to stop any private monies from funding elections. I have copied the language below:
16-407.01. Election administration; private monies prohibited
Notwithstanding any other law, this state and a city, town, county, school district or other public body that conducts or administers elections may not receive or expend private monies for preparing for, administering or conducting an election, including registering voters.”
This question is an interesting one because it is answered one way or the other as it suits the people invoking it. When it suits the argument, the party precinct committeemen are the most powerful elected officials in the state. When it suits the opposite argument, then precinct committeemen are not elected officials but members of a private club. It is ironic that the same people who have been supporting the elected official argument are now taking the private club position. They claim that they have commitments of funding which are not prohibited under 16-407.01 because the Republican Party is a private club.
But even if everyone agrees that the Republican Party is not subject to 16-407-01, and there are no legal challenges, there is still the matter of the amount needed because the AZGOP is not in a position to spend one penny more that it is spending now. We have seen estimates as high as 12 million. The state legislature has appropriated 5.9 million, which seems to be closer to the real cost. However, the anti-PPE crowd claims that they can do it for under 1 million, which is totally unrealistic and irresponsible.
There are many other reasons why this proposed change is questionable at best and ill-advised at worst.
“Paper ballots, in a one-day, one-vote election, hand-counted at the precinct level”
Are hand counts cheaper, more accurate, or less time-consuming than machine tabulation? The fact is that we do not know the answer to that question. Anyone claiming to know is acting purely on emotion, with no facts to back up their position. This year, the state legislature tried to find an answer so that we could settle this matter once and for all. Among the slew of election integrity bills that they passed, one dealt with this question. Senate bill SB1471 called for a hand recount of some of the 2022 elections. The idea was to compare the results, to determine the advantage, if any, of one method over the other. This bill, like many others, was vetoed by Hobbs. The end result is that we still do not know for sure that there is any advantage to hand counts.
WHERE IS THE PLAN
In a Pelosi-like fashion, the MCRC is demanding that the AZGOP cancel the PPE in favor of an unknown plan to be voted on by state committeemen in January. In other words, approve the plan so that you may find out what is in it several months from now.
OVERSEAS MILITARY AND TRAVELERS
The “Paper ballots, in a one-day, one-vote election, hand-counted at the precinct level” precludes the use of mail in ballots to accommodate the needs of legitimate voters who happen to be overseas.
The main take away from this whole affair is that many newcomers to the world of politics are being misled into supporting behavior that is counter-productive long term. They fail to realize that politics is much like chess.
While playing chess, it may be very satisfying to take that bishop, but doing so without looking ahead could mean losing the queen and subsequently losing the game.
Likewise, in politics, it may seem like a good idea to do something like doing away with the PPE as a means of heading off election fraud, but that course of action should be carefully evaluated to make sure that the end result is not worse than the current condition.