Tuesday, May 10, 2016

False Cries of Voter Suppression in Arizona and Other GOP Primaries

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell and her elections director Karen Osborne
After a few state presidential primary elections took place this spring, there were cries of voter disenfranchisement due to the surprisingly long lines some voters encountered at the polls. Now there is an outcry that voters were deliberately disenfranchised, with calls for election officials to resign, including hearings taking place in the Arizona State Legislature.

But was there really voter suppression? And why would elected officials, under intense scrutiny with all the media today, risk something this illegal? Many of the accusations are from Donald Trump supporters, and since it is generally Democrats who are accused of voter fraud (hence their insistence on not requiring ID to vote), it makes no sense why Republican elected officials with long-standing reputations would risk their careers, reputations and prosecution in order to illegally interfere with an election — a felony that would likely result in prison time.

Some of the loudest protests are taking place where I live, in Maricopa County, Arizona. I was the elections attorney for Maricopa County a few years ago, so I have a thorough understanding of the dilemmas that department faces, which the general public does not know about. It frustrates me greatly how this fiasco is being portrayed by the mainstream media. Helen Purcell, the county recorder who oversees elections, is a moderate Republican with an impeccable reputation who has held that position since 1988. I disagree with her on issues like abortion, so believe me, she holds no favoritism toward Cruz — not that she would ever do anything unethical to affect an election anyway.

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