Arizona Democrat Secretary of State Under Fire for Connection to Discrimination Lawsuit

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat running for governor in 2022, is under fire for her connection to a discrimination lawsuit filed by a former aide to state Senate Democrats.

Talonya Adams, a Black woman, alleged that she was underpaid and fired after detailing that she earned less money than her co-workers.

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Former Senate Staffer Under Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs Awarded $2.75 Million in Race Discrimination Firing

Katie Hobbs

A former adviser to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs has again won a racial discrimination case against the state official from their time in the state Legislature. 

A jury sided with Talonya Adams, a former legal advisor to the Arizona Senate Democrats, in her claim that she was discriminated against when she was fired in 2015. 

Adams, who is Black, was awarded $2 million for being retaliated against and $750,000 for proving she was racially discriminated against. It’s unclear how much Adams will receive, since federal discrimination cases are capped at $300,000 plus legal fees for employers of more than 100 people.

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Arizona Republican Party Chair Demands Election Audits in Every County in the State

Dr. Kelli Ward of Arizona

Based on the results of the Maricopa County ballot audit, as well as findings that have come from informal auditing of the election in Pima County, Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward wants an audit done in every county in Arizona. Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is currently investigating the results of the Maricopa County audit, and has ordered the county supervisors to put a litigation hold on the election materials. Former President Donald Trump has called to decertify the results of the Pima County election or hold a new election. 

“I’ve been asking for full audits of all 15 of Arizona counties,” Ward said during a video. “Momentum for election integrity only continues to build. We the people will not back down. We will not waver.” 

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Prominent Democratic Official in San Luis, Arizona Indicted on Additional Charges of Ballot Harvesting

A Grand Jury has indicted a prominent Democratic official in the border city of San Luis, Arizona again on charges related to ballot harvesting during the 2020 primary election. Guillermina Fuentes, who is a former mayor of San Luis, a Democratic precinct committee person, and a member of the Gadsden Elementary School Board, was first indicted in December on one count of ballot abuse, also known as ballot harvesting, for collecting four ballots from people and turning them in. She was not authorized to do so since she was not a family member, household member, or caregiver of the voters per Arizona law. 

The new charges of conspiracy, forgery, and an additional ballot abuse count relate to a fifth voter, where she signed the voter’s name on the return envelope and marked their ballot. Alma Juarez, another San Luis resident, was also indicted for ballot abuse in December along with Fuentes. Fuentes has pleaded not guilty. The Democrats of Greater Tucson describe Fuentes as “very politically active and has helped gather signatures for candidates.”

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Arizona State Rep. and Secretary of State Candidate Shawnna Bolick Favors Statewide Audit, Other Measures

The results of the Maricopa County ballot audit has many elected officials demanding accountability and action. Arizona State Rep. Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), who is running for Arizona Secretary of State, issued a statement denouncing the fraud that the audit uncovered, and recommended conducting a statewide audit. 

Bolick said in a recent campaign update, criticizing Democratic election officials Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes, “Who is surprised that Secretary Hobbs and the former Maricopa County Recorder Fontes bent the rules last year, taking advantage of Covid to consistently undermine our election processes? It didn’t stop in 2020. They continued to obstruct the State Senate’s audit to serve justice. Then we saw how Maricopa County refused to turn over election routers despite a subpoena, but it went deeper. Throughout the audit report, it was clear that at almost every point Maricopa County was uncooperative in providing important context and information. They disrupted the audit processes by deleting logs, files, and important documents from the Election Management System.”

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Arizonans for Voter ID Act Making Progress Getting on Ballot

People voting

A coalition of Arizona legislators and about 10 conservative groups launched an effort last month to get an initiative on the ballot that would combat voter fraud, the Arizonans for Voter ID Act. They began collecting signatures last week. Spearheaded by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club, the four-pronged plan would end the practice of voting without an ID — even for mail-in or dropped-off ballots. By requiring ID, ballot harvesting would become impossible. 

Scot Musser, president and executive director of The Arizona Free Enterprise Club, told The Arizona Sun Times that the response from people interested in helping has been tremendous. “At the Constitution Celebration event in Queen Creek this past weekend, there were long lines of people waiting to sign the petition or seeking to become petition circulators.” He said many politicians and others have reached out eager to join the effort.

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Kari Lake, Mark Brnovich Have Highest Favorability in Their Arizona Primary Races

Kari Lake, Mark Brnovich

A new poll from OH Predictive Insights shows former news anchor Kari Lake with the highest approval rate of Republicans running for governor of Arizona and Attorney General Mark Brnovich with the highest approval rate of Republicans running for the U.S. Senate. Lake scored 60% with Republican voters, well ahead of former Congressman Matt Salmon with 51% and former State Treasurer Kimberly Yee at 49%. On the Senate side, Brnovich has 61% compared to veteran Michael McGuire next with 43% and businessman Jim Lamon’s 39%. Blake Masters, a protege of GOP tech billionaire Peter Thiel, entered the race after the poll was conducted.

According to a general election matchup, Hobbs’ approval rating is slightly higher than Lake’s, 40% to 39%. Hobbs has very high name recognition due to her high-profile fight against the Maricopa County ballot audit. Hobbs also has a fairly high disapproval rating relative to the other candidates in the poll, 27%. She once referred to Donald Trump supporters as “neo-Nazis.” She also tweeted “The President is on the side of the freaking Nazis. Don’t just say stuff – DO SOMETHING!!!” She has not deleted the tweets.

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Lawsuit Filed Against Referendums That Attempt to Reverse Arizona’s Historic Tax Cuts

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit recently against Invest in Arizona over the organization’s attempt to get three referendums on the Arizona ballot that would reverse Arizona’s recently passed tax cuts. The lawsuit contends that since the tax cuts “provide for, and directly relate to, the generation of revenues that are remitted to the general fund and appropriated to various agencies, departments and instrumentalities of the state government,” they cannot be the subject of a referendum and are unconstitutional.

AFEC President Scot Mussi, who is one of the plaintiffs, said, “All three bills directly provide for the support and maintenance of the state, were key aspects of the state’s budget, and therefore are not referable by Invest in Arizona.”

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Maricopa County Official Known for ‘Sharpiegate’ Donated to Democrat Mark Kelly’s U.S. Senate Campaign

Kelly Dixon, assistant director for the Maricopa County Election Department’s recruitment and training division, who admitted she knew there were “issues and concerns” with voters marking ballots with Sharpies, donated to Senator Mark Kelly (D-AZ). She earmarked a $100 contribution to him through a donation she gave to the Democratic campaign fundraising organization ActBlue, Headline USA reported on Monday. 

Maricopa County voters complained about poll workers handing them Sharpies on election day that bled through the ballots. Dixon knew ahead of election day that using sharpies to mark a ballot was an issue. In an email dated October 22, she wrote “Starting tomorrow, 10/23, and through 11/2, we are asking the Clerks hand voters BALLPOINT PENS rather than markers.” However, she then said “We NEED to use markers on Election Day.” She did not explain why. Republicans voted on election day in huge numbers last year, driven by fears of voter fraud. A Gallup survey found that 62% of Democrats said they would vote early last fall, compared to only 28% of Republicans. 

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Kari Lake Calls for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs to Recuse Herself from Overseeing Gubernatorial Race

Kari Lake AZ

Arizona Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is calling for “the most partisan Secretary of State in the history of Arizona,” Democrat Katie Hobbs, to recuse herself from overseeing the governor’s race. Hobbs is also running for governor. Lake cited Hobbs’ behavior during the 2020 election and aftermath, her “history of irrational bias and disdain toward Republicans in addition to what election investigators have reported to the public about serious issues affecting tens-of-thousands of ballots and voters.” She said, “Arizona voters have lost confidence in Katie Hobbs to run another election.”

Lake is concerned that Hobbs will not conduct the election fairly for Republicans like herself in the race. She asked other candidates to join her demand. She cited a tweet from Hobbs in 2017, where Hobbs said, “[email protected] has made it abundantly clear he’s more interested in pandering to his neo-nazi base than being @POTUS for all Americans.” Hobbs did not delete the tweet.

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Five Voting-Related Ballot Proposals Seek to Make Arizona 2022 Ballot

Five ballot proposals addressing voting may be on this fall’s ballot if their sponsors collect enough signatures. Three of them, known as referendums, seek to stop legislation from becoming law, requiring 118,823 signatures each. The other ballot initiatives need 237,645 signatures each. Even if all the signatures are collected, a successful legal challenge could keep them off the ballot.

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Arizona Secretary of State Requests Investigation into Former President Trump and Allies for ‘Election interference’

Katie Hobbs, the Arizona Secretary of State who recently launched a bid for governor, sent a letter to Attorney General Mark Brnovich and requested that he open an investigation into former President Donald Trump and his allies over allegations of “election interference.” 

“I urge you to take action not only to seek justice in this instance, but to prevent future attempts to interfere with the integrity of our elections. If your ethical duties prevent you from investigating this matter, I ask that you refer it to another enforcement agency,” Hobbs said in her letter to Brnovich.

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Republican Business Executive Beau Lane to Run for Arizona Secretary of State

Beau Lane of Arizona

Beau Lane, a Phoenix advertising executive, announced that he will launch a campaign for Secretary of State — a position within the state that has gained national attention.

According to the video announcing his candidacy and his campaign website, Lane will attempt to cast himself as an “outsider” with solutions to improve the office. “We need a citizen and a leader, not a career politician, to restore faith and trust in our democratic institutions,” his website reads.

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Maricopa County to Replace Its Voting Machines, Says Audit Compromised Them

Maricopa County intends to replace all of its election machines, due to concerns that the audit compromised the equipment. The county’s Dominion Democracy Suite 5.5B voting system was turned over to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) and Senate Majority Leader Warren Petersen (R-Gilbert) through subpoena earlier this year. The Senate contracted with a private company, Cyber Ninjas, to conduct the audit.

Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel confirmed on Monday the county’s intent to replace their entire fleet of voting machines in a reply letter to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

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Businessman Steve Gaynor to Run for Arizona Governor

Steve Gaynor, a businessman and former candidate for Arizona Secretary of State, has launched a campaign to run for Governor of Arizona. 

In a statement announcing his candidacy, Gaynor argued that he was the best candidate to tackle the problems facing Arizona, largely due to the fact he identified himself as an “outsider.”

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Leads Challenge at SCOTUS Related to Hobbs

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed an amicus curiae brief Monday in the U.S. Supreme Court with 22 states signing on, demanding the court overrule a decision by the Sixth Circuit allowing state officials to surrender in lawsuits challenging state laws they don’t want to defend.  The move comes as Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, is refusing to appeal adverse decisions striking down Arizona’s elections laws.

The brief relates to Kentucky v. EMW Women’s Surgical Center, where Democratic Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear failed to appeal a court decision striking down a Kentucky law banning dismemberment abortions during the second trimester of pregnancy. Kentucky’s Republican Attorney General Daniel Cameron is trying to intervene in order to defend the law.

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Arizona State Rep. Shawnna Bolick Launches Campaign for Secretary of State

Shawnna Bolick

State Representative Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix) has launched a campaign to enter the growing field of candidates running for Arizona’s Secretary of State. 

The position has dramatically increased its statewide profile after many individuals expressed concerns over the handling of the November 2020 election.

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Status Update: The Maricopa County Ballot Audit

The ballot audit in Maricopa County is winding down, and as details leak out from the counting and analysis, it is becoming clear what many of the problems are that will need addressing. Some could be honest mistakes, such as voters marking their ballots incorrectly, but others could be far more serious.

Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) listed off several discrepancies in a letter to the Maricopa County Supervisors on May 12, such as different numbers of ballots in the boxes than the numbers listed on the pink sheets inside the boxes. She cited several examples, including one box that contained an alarming 35 fewer ballots than the number on the pink slip.

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Embattled Arizona Secretary of State Announces a Run for Governor

Embattled Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) announced Wednesday that she will launch a campaign for Governor of Arizona. 

The theme of her campaign focuses on “getting things done,” according to the video announcing her candidacy. In reference to the November 2020 election, Hobbs said, “We did our job.”

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