By Alexander Lomax
Anyone who has paid attention to Arizona politics at all in the last few years is aware of the charges of a “stolen election”, or at the very least doubts that have been raised about the sanctity of the election process. Those charges that were a centerpiece of Arizona GOP politics at the time, and not only can a strong case be made that they hurt their chances in the 2022 elections, but the damage may be even worse for some.
After all, County Recorder Stephen Richer’s $1 million defamation suit against Kari Lake for what she had repeatedly said about him will be going forward, which may not only represent a major financial hit to her, but may also turn into a massive sticking point in her campaign.
One would think that the GOP would be wise enough to strongly pivot away from this line of questioning, and yet they can’t seem to let it go. This was exemplified by how AZ House Speaker Ben Toma appointed Scottsdale Representative Alexander Kolodin to grill an Arizona Supreme Court Justice about issues with ballot tabulators that didn’t work on Election Day.
And here’s the thing…when something doesn’t work the way it should, we absolutely should gather information and try to figure out what went wrong. But where it has the appearance of a political game more than an attempt to improve our democracy is where the problems lie.
After all, elections in Maricopa County routinely run into issues when there is a surge of in-person voting. It is what sealed Helen Purcell’s fate in the role of County Recorder, it happened to then-Recorder Adrian Fontes who then ceded control of day-of elections to the Republican-dominated County Board of Supervisors, and it happened to that Board of Supervisors. And most ironically, the reason for that surge in in-person voting was repeated political missives about how voting by mail wasn’t secure (first by Donald Trump, and then by Kari Lake). So the same people that caused the problem are now attempting to point the finger elsewhere.
Moreover, all the votes were counted. As much as it is clear that the GOP wanted a “gotcha” moment of election fraud, what they are clinging on to is this: machines that should have been tested better (a process under Republican jurisdiction) got overwhelmed by a surge in voters caused by a GOP-fostered conspiracy, and some people weren’t willing to wait long enough to do something that they could have easily done from home. They shot themselves in the foot and then tried to frame someone else.
So while Toma and Kolodin are welcome to go down this route, one must wonder how much longer they’re willing to make themselves look foolish in the name of squeezing political water from a stone. It would be no surprise at all if this backfires for yet another election in Arizona.