Editorial: Oops! Integrity of election compromised?
We have an election planned for May 17 of monumental importance – to most of us.
Proposition 123 would settle a 2010 lawsuit filed by school districts against the state for ignoring a 2000 voter-approved mandate to boost annual inflation funding. The courts have ordered the state to pay up what it has not since during the Great Recession; the measure would provide $3.5 billion over the next decade, much of it coming from a special education trust account.
If approved, the payout is much less than what schools would receive if the state were to pay the inflation funding, past (what went unpaid) and future.
The other measure, Proposition 124, deals with pensions for police and firefighters. At a minimum, it would amend the Arizona Constitution to allow limits on future benefit increases. It would not void what cities owe, such as the City of Prescott’s more than $70 million; however, it would provide some fixes for the future.
Gasp! Attorney Tom Ryan is asking the state Attorney General to delay the special election because Secretary of State Michele Reagan failed to meet the deadline for getting publicity pamphlets to voters. She admits about 200,000 of the nearly 2 million pamphlets did not go to voting households prior to them receiving ballots.
The affected homes appear to be those with two people who are on the list to get early ballots, according to Capitol Media Services, which means more than 400,000 voters could be affected.
Reagan said the fault is because of a vendor whose program on who should get the pamphlets was flawed. But she said the problem should have been noticed by her staff. “This one is definitely on our office,” she said.
Seems Arizona law requires Reagan’s office to prepare pamphlets with pro and con arguments ahead of each election, and mail them to every household with voters before the early ballots are delivered.
Here we have a person elected to oversee strict compliance with all election laws. The kicker is Reagan says at least 200,000 pamphlets did not go out on time, and the affected households are all outside the two major counties (containing the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas).
Hold the phone! To me that means, “Sorry but, no big deal, it’s only rural households.”
This from the person who sidestepped responsibility for the March 22 Presidential Preference Election polling place flubs in Maricopa County.
Is this enough to halt next week’s election?
Ryan says Reagan’s failure to comply means the election cannot legally take place. Reagan countered on Tuesday there’s no legal way to cancel the May 17 special election, even if they did screw up and fail to comply with the law.
It’s just an election, and they’re only rural people possibly confused or ill-informed. And, what about the early ballots cast? If people did not get to see the pro and con arguments, how valid is that?
We’ll see what Attorney General Mark Brnovich says, but I’m not holding my breath - either way.
As for Reagan, see that light flashing in the corner of your eye, Madam Secretary? That’s your career expiration light, and it has gone into overdrive.