This story has been surfacing this week among many news sites. As reported by Arizona Daily Independent, a Republican Party official in Maricopa County says a surveillance tape shows a Hispanic man stuffing early ballots in the ballot box and committing voter fraud.
With rampant allegations of voter fraud in past elections, it’s very important to get the facts before anyone jumps to conclusions. So let’s get the facts first.
Arizona Election Laws
Maricopa County was the scene of a protest over a record number of uncounted early ballots in the 2012 election. The uncounted votes raised controversy that Latino voters were being “disproportionately affected” according to a New York Times report. Since 2012 the state’s election laws have caused considerable controversy.
In 2013, Arizona passed a law to reform the election process and hinder any potential voter fraud. The law required that citizens be dropped from early voting requirements if they did not vote in two consecutive primary and general elections. However, the law was eventually repealed in 2014 by special interest groups who claimed the law would suppress the Latino vote in a heavily Hispanic community.
Setting the Scene
The chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Committee, A.J. LaFaro, obtained the surveillance video (below). The video was recorded on August 25th during the primary election cycle. LaFaro was working with the county elections staff observing the early ballot process. The team decided to take a long lunch break since they “had gotten way ahead of the ‘upstream’ citizen boards preparing early ballot batches for processing.”
While the team went on their lunch break, LaFaro was “seated at one of the cubicles looking toward the reception area that is now behind the bullet proof glass because of the violence and protesting that occurred by the militant groups during the November 2012 general election.”
LaFaro then describes that between 12:54 to 1:04, he witnessed a man wearing a “Citizens for a Better Arizona (CBA) T-shirt loudly drop a box containing hundreds of early-voting ballots on a table.” Citizens for a Better Arizona is described as “a predominantly volunteer driven organization of Republicans, Democrats and Independents committed to improving the quality of life of all Arizonans…”
The video does not have sound but according to LaFaro, this is the conversation he had as he watched the man “stuffing the ballot box”:
CBA man: “What’s your problem?”
LaFaro: “I don’t have a problem.”
CBA man: “Stop watching me. You’re annoying me.”
LaFaro: (Kept observing the man.) “One of your ballots isn’t sealed.”
CBA man: “It’s none of your business. What’s your name?”
LaFaro: “I am the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party. What’s yours?”
CBA man: “Go f*** yourself! I don’t have to tell you who I am.”
The man then proceeds to look as if he takes the unsealed ballot out of the building only to come back again and drop what appears to be that same ballot in the box.
In an interview with The Daily Caller, LaFaro described the video “as the final result of a process he called a ‘ballot harvest’ by a progressive operative.” He believes what was captured on the video to be voter fraud. “This is a smoking gun that ballot harvesting actually does happen,” he said. LaFaro admitted that the CBA man’s actions likely don’t conflict with Arizona’s electoral law but stressed the law can lead to voter fraud.
Citizens for a Better Arizona were contacted by phone but attempts were unsuccessful in talking to anyone regarding this video.
Is this voter fraud or is this hype before the next election cycle? Whatever question comes to mind after reading this and watching the video there’s no doubt that a full investigation should take place to confirm whether voter laws have been broken.
Arizona has been the source of much controversy regarding the state’s election laws and reports have surfaced that activists have collected numerous ballots improperly. Recent comments regarding this video have led to questions that all citizens should be asking not just about Maricopa County but about the voting process around the country.
Questions such as:
Is early voting and no requirements for voter ID leading to more voter fraud?
Should absentee ballots be delivered in person or by mail only?
Why do progressive groups campaign against the voter ID requirement? Is it because voter fraud would be greatly restricted?
If left-leaning groups can canvass areas for “ballot harvesting” to obtain votes why don’t more right-wing groups have their own “harvesting of votes?” Is it perhaps, one party sees it as fraud and the other party sees it as the end justifies the means?
Lastly, Eric Holder stated back in September (the day after he resigned) that voter fraud “doesn’t exist.” How can an Attorney General, state voting fraud doesn’t exist when no investigations ever take place with allegations such as this one?
Nothing to see here…move along.