Arizona Libertarian Party Response To Republican HB2305 Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The Arizona Libertarian Party
Contact: Barry Hess (602) 843-3827
Communications Director

Hess calls BS! On Republican-led disinformation campaign Re: HB 2305.

A Response to the Deceptive Republican “News” Release Regarding HB 2305, on 7-25-2013

PHOENIX: Barry Hess, Vice-Chair of the Arizona Libertarian Party spoke in Response to the Republican Press Release, (Transcript of Hess’ speech follows)

“HB 2305 is not as simple as it may seem so bear with me, it’ll take a few minutes to respond adequately.

The Republican Party is in full-spin mode as it tries to defend the indefensible actions taken by 16 of its members, in an overt attempt to subvert and control Arizona’s elections to their benefit. The unexpected backlash is already so severe that they had to put up party flaks to take the heat, and try to shield the guilty legislators from the inevitable repercussions that will come in the next election cycle.

Unfortunately, they’ve chosen to do so, by misleading the public as to what HB 2305 is, or where it came from—and by neglecting to mention the ‘real’ reasons their corrupt Washington D.C. bosses ordered them to push the Amendments they wanted through, whether by hook or by crook. (The Republican National Party is trying the same tactic in 17 or 18 other States, as well.)

The attempt to re-frame the argument is…fascinating, for lack of a better word. The fact is, HB 2305 in its original, 3-page form, was a pretty innocuous bill that arguably would make life a little easier for County Recorders, in regard to signature and circulator validations. ‘This’ is the tiny part the County Recorders supported—they were unaware that their reputations would be tied to a 32-page, uh, Amendment; full of very bad, over-reaching, and unethical provisions that serve only to give all the different groups that oppose HB 2305 (the Amendments) a different reason to object. That’s the reason some of the County Recorders have already come forward to clarify their support was ONLY for the original bill. If it had been left as a ‘clean’ bill, without Amendment; nobody would even get up off the couch to oppose it–but that’s not what happened.

There were five different Republican-sponsored bills; each of them an attempt to control various aspects of elections. All failed to get any support. One of them, Dial’s bill, was effectively the same as Prop 121. Prop 121 would have made it impossible for Independent candidates, and ‘Third Parties’ to get on the ballot, and would have removed Voter choices at election—other than the Republican-Democrat team choices. Prop 121 was opposed by…everybody, and it was soundly rejected by Arizona Voters, in last November’s election.
I don’t know this Graham character, but from his quotes, I am quite certain I’m not deprived.

The Release Headlines claim, “Graham Supporting Effort to Protect Ballot Integrity Law”, and, “Graham Opposes Democrat-led Referendum, Supports Law to Protect Voters from Interference, Fraud”.

First off, calling HB 2305 a ‘Ballot Integrity Law’ is a slap in the face to every Arizonan, and anyone who is capable of thought; and second, the Democrats are a part of, but NOT ‘leading’ the referendum effort (by election-time Republicans will wish it was, ‘just’ the Democrats), in fact, the provisions of the Amendments to HB 2305 are so outrageous, and egregious that it has brought together every other element of the political spectrum, in support of sending the measure(s) to the ballot—to let the People decide. The Republican Party is on its own, because HB2305 (as Amended) doesn’t “Protect Voters”; it limits Voter choices, and nothing else.

Although Graham says that there were ‘nefarious’ and ‘fraudulent’ activities carried out in the last election—he is unable to point out any single instance where it was.

If there’s anything ‘fraudulent’ or ‘nefarious’ afoot, it’s in the Republican Party, and with the 16 arrogantly ignorant Republicans who tried to feed Arizona more ‘used grain’, in the form of HB 2305. What else could you call these repugnant Amendments that were snuck in, and ‘passed’, in the middle of the night, when only a few legislators were still present to vote? What else would you call it when the Republican core felt the need to ‘take election matters into their own hands’; even though traditionally, even the smallest of changes to election law are routinely sent to the ballot for Voter approval?

What the Voters Graham doesn’t tell, is that HB 2305 FAILED ON ITS ‘FINAL READ’, even under conditions designed to let it slide right through. After the vote, there was a lot of foot-stompin’ and butt-kissing going on in the Senate; even a tape of Senator Mesnard trying to encourage support for the whole noxious package by clearly stating this bill was to ‘keep the Libertarians off the ballot’. He childishly asserted that Libertarians, Independents, and the Greens, were ‘spoiling’ “their” races. Evidently, no one told him that the one, who ‘spoiled’ the race–was the winner. These Republican Party hacks actually think they can force Voters to support them, by excluding all the competition! That wouldn’t be a ‘win’—that would just be a common cheat—and all they’ll gain is more opposition.

Then, in an allowance that is as frequent as a unicorn sighting happened—it was given something called a ‘second read’–that’s where the voo-doo went down, and HB 2305, with all its Amendments, squeaked through, and of course, Brewer quickly signed it.
HB 2305 is a thinly-veiled, Republican desperation move to try to remain relevant in a political environment they don’t understand. How does one ethically account for shamelessly trying to subvert the will of the People, and limit their choices at the polls?

Consider this; 16 Republicans, took it upon themselves to overhaul Arizona’s election laws and force the MOST EXTENSIVE changes in Arizona’s history; and all without any input from the People of Arizona, or any group…except Republicans. What makes their nefarious plan even more outrageous is in knowing that these 16 party hacks, took it upon themselves to reverse the vote of the People on Prop 121.

Mr. Graham’s attempt to paint the referendum effort as a “Democratic Party” led coalition–is not going to work. There is no definitive “leader” of our coalition. It is primarily, a Libertarian thing, but we’ve come together with a growing coalition of good people. We may all have completely different ideas, as to how political things should be done—but every one of these people has the character to stand up for every other individuals’ uninfringeable right to have equal access to the political process, and to participate in their government. They see well-beyond their own interests.

For instance, as a libertarian, it falls to me to stand up for the Green Party, and for every individual who wishes to participate in our citizen-owned government, and especially those who have chosen not to affiliate with any political party—Arizona’s Independent Voters. Otherwise, they would have no access to the political process, no voice, and no soapbox to offer their ideas.

I am very proud of the people who saw what HB 2305 was from the very start, and joined our ‘Protect Your Right To Vote’ coalition. While we don’t all agree in our politics, we do all agree that this matter needs to be turned over to the Voters of Arizona. Why do you suppose the Republicans, wouldn’t want to give the Voters that opportunity? There’s only one reason…

On the other hand, our coalition has already garnered the support of Clint Bolick of the Goldwater Institute; former Phoenix Mayor, Paul Johnson (I); former Sheriff Richard Mack (R)/Tea Party; Former Sen. Karen Johnson (R); Sen. Steve Gallardo (D); Charlie Powell, Seniors coalition/Tea Party; Alice Stambaugh, The League of Women Voters; Angel Torres, Chair/Green Party; J.D. Quinlan, Democratic Party; Warren Severin, Chair/ Libertarian Party; several Tea Party People (HB 2305 was aimed at them, too–so they couldn’t interfere with the Republican Party); Frank Commacho, Valley TV personality; Attys. Michael Keilsky, Dave Hardy; Chairman Jim Ianuzzo, Maricopa County Libertarian Party; Richard Winger, Election Integrity Consultant/Activist; many Conservative Groups and more coming on board all the time. The only thing all these people have in common, it that we all insist that Arizona’s elections be open, honest and fair.

Just our partial list of supporters represents the most diverse coalition in Arizona’s history—if there was anything in HB 2305 that would benefit Arizona, why would all these people object? The obvious answer sends a loud, clear message; Arizona voters have already made their will known–that ‘every’ political voice needs to be heard, in fair and honest elections. We do not want to see Arizona’s elections turned into a joke by HB2305. This is a blatant attempt to control the electoral process, and thereby control the elections. It should go back to the People.

We’re well on our way to gathering the needed 87,000 valid signatures necessary to refer this issue to the Voters of Arizona, but we can anticipate the Republican leadership will try to do what HB2305 does–knock the Referendum off the Ballot, and deny voters any say at all.

Graham says that ‘they’ witnessed “nefarious techniques by leftist groups”—harassing people to vote, and overwhelming election officials, but oddly enough, he couldn’t point to any specific instance…because he was making it up. The best part was the desperate grasp at re-characterizing a 15-year-old’s running disabled Aunt Sally’s ballot down to the polls to drop it off for her, as something ‘bad’. As usual, the non-creative Republican spin team went back to their usual tactic of inventing a Bogeyman, and then claiming they killed it.

Graham attempts to sell the idea that because there were “too many” ballots cast near the closing bell on Election Day, that there was a ‘problem’ that needed to be solved. He didn’t mention any attempt to make the counting easier or more efficient; just that having ‘too many’ ballots to count, was an ‘inconvenience’ that delayed results for the Media. According to that logic, election officials should be able to end voting any time they can’t keep up in counting…

Graham callously claims some sort of ‘stewardship’ over the election process—he even steals our coalition’s tag line—“To ensure that every vote is counted; every choice is offered; and that every voice is heard.” Good-Golly, do these folks have no shame?
There’s a real good reason the Republican Party is losing members faster than any other party or group; and it’s because the out-of-touch Republican Party ‘leaders’, don’t actually oppose fraud in our elections—they want to institutionalize it…and you can quote me on that.”
Hess went on, to explain the provisions of the Amendment to HB 2305 that are at the heart of Republican intentions. The ‘real’ intent of HB 2305 is to force all opposition off of the ballot at the Primary stage, (The same tactic used by Barack Obama.) in hopes of ‘inheriting’ Independent and Libertarian votes, as a “lesser evil”, in the General Election.

I’ve received over 45 contacts from Republicans regarding HB 2305. Essentially, all vocalize the same thought: They will Not vote for any Republican, under any condition. These people have a sense of dignity, and refuse to participate in a rigged game…even if it is rigged in ‘their team’s’ favor. To win by cheating, is not winning–it’s just cheating.

The lack of uniformity in setting different standards for different races, reeks of an ‘Equal Protections’ challenge, and cause for legal action but, the ‘big’ biggie; is the disenfranchisement of each and every Arizona voter, and their right to participate in their government. Republicans have made an overt attempt to subvert Arizona’s elections, by eliminating Voter choices.

Here’s how it does that; it raises the signature requirements of smaller political party candidates to match those of the two state-owned parties—to get on their own primary ballots! Under HB2305, in many of the political subdivisions and districts, for political office, smaller party candidates need to gather far more signatures, than there are registered members of their own party! In several cases, smaller-party candidates would be required to get the majority of their signatures, for their own Party’s nomination–from non-members of their Party!

The Libertarian Party won the right to hold a closed Primary in Federal Court, due to the potential for predatory influence from non-members. HB2305 ‘forces’ the Libertarian and Green Parties to ‘open’ their Primary elections to non-members; risking those same predatory influences–just to get enough signatures…to get on their own ballot, and that’s absurd on its face. HB 2305’s provisions clearly conflict with the U.S. Supreme Court’s well-reasoned decisions like Storer v. Brown , 415 US 724 (1974), and every similar case that’s come before it. In Storer the Court held unequivocally for the ‘percentage of membership’ standard.

Republican flaks are already making pitiful attempts to suggest that the Amendments to HB 2305, “levels the playing field” by requiring that ALL candidates meet the SAME signature requirements to get on their own Primary Ballot.

At first blush, that might seem ‘fair’ or ‘equal’; but not if we consider a few things; first let’s understand that a Political Party is formed of people of like-mind in principles, platform and a purpose. In order to maintain the values and principles on which that Party was founded, only members of that Party can determine which candidate best reflects their principles, platform and purpose, right?

To allow non-members to participate in the choice of candidates who will represent a Political Party leads to an instant loss of any principles, platform or purpose the Party’s name has come to represent. We are all familiar with the terms, ‘RINO’, and ‘DINO’, right? Smaller, and new Parties are born of dissatisfaction with what is essentially a single State ‘Party’ with no principles to which its leadership adheres, and a phony platform that changes every day. It’s one where decisions are made in back-room deals with no purpose, other than to preserve its grip on Arizona’s political arena, and legislative purse strings…

Primary Elections are just that; Primary elections. Their purpose is to determine which candidate will represent each recognized Political Party in the General Election–and nothing more. The Primary Election is NOT to determine ‘if’ there with be a representative from each recognized Political Party; it is not to determine ‘viability’ in the General Election, nor to demonstrate “broad appeal” amongst all voters; it is simply to determine ‘whose’ name will appear on the General Election Ballot to represent the recognized Political Parties.

All recognized Political Parties are entitled to place as many candidates as qualify from within that Party, on the Primary Election Ballot; to determine who will represent them in the General Election. Under the Amendments to HB 2305, there aren’t enough registered Greens to nominate two Primary candidates, even if every Green Party member signed one! (A voter cannot sign more than one petition for nomination.)

HB2305 essentially knocks smaller Political Party candidates out of their own Primary Elections, and turns the Primary Election into a grossly-mal-formed “Semi-General Election”. If that’s the case, why do we need a ‘General’ Election at all? Okay, I was making a point. I should have been asking, ‘Why do we need a Primary Election at all?’ If we allow HB2305 to make a sham of our elections; why not save the taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, and require each Political Party to determine ‘who’ represent them on the General Election Ballot, in any way they choose?

HB2305 radically raises the signature requirements for smaller Parties, and when I say ‘radically’, I mean it; it requires they gather as many as 45 times as many signatures than, before HB2305.

The truth is, the requirements were ‘fair’ before HB2305. Signature requirements to get on the Primary Election Ballot were measured, by the number of registered Party members there were in a particular political sub-division or district. It was the SAME percentage for every Political Party, so it couldn’t get any more ‘fair’. What is ironic about HB2305, is that it amounts Republicans crying that their Political Party is “too big”, and it makes them work ‘harder’ to secure a place on their own Primary Ballot. Does Arizona really need more whiny politicians?”

All of the information regarding HB 2305 is on the legislative website (www.azleg.gov) a direct link is provided below, as well as to a Horizon segment on the subject:

http://azleg.gov/DocumentsForBill.asp?Bill_Number=2305&Session_Id=110&image.x=6&image.y=5

http://video.pbs.org/video/2365043237

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