In Arizona, Maricopa County officials battle election lies: NPR

A supporter of Donald Trump holds a “Trump One” sign before a rally on January 15 in Florence, Arizona. The former president, who lost the state and presidential election in 2020, endorsed a large number of candidates who rejected the election in Arizona. general.

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A supporter of Donald Trump holds a “Trump One” sign before a rally on January 15 in Florence, Arizona. The former president, who lost the state and presidential election in 2020, endorsed a large number of candidates who rejected the election in Arizona. general.

Robin Beck/AFP via Getty Images

For the past two years, Arizona has been a beehive of election denial.

State Senate Republicans led a deeply flawed review of the 2020 election in Arizona’s largest county, putting Maricopa County in the spotlight for months.

Former President Donald Trump was in the state just last week to research a list of Republican candidates who would reject the election, including those for governor. Lake Carrie and Representative Mark Fenchem, who is running for Secretary of State.

Despite the shady review and false claims about the 2020 election, this year’s primary, which will be held on Tuesday, is not all that different in Maricopa County.

“Despite all the noise that’s been going on in terms of the election administration, from a user’s point of view, it’s going to look very similar to the 2020 experience,” said Stephen Richer, a registered Republican in Maricopa County.

Rich is quick to point out that the election review, for all its flaws, found nothing apart from the Maricopa County election, with the county fully debunking allegations of wrongdoing. The review also confirmed that Trump lost the state in 2020.

“I think we’ve had more scrutiny of the Maricopa County election process than any other jurisdiction in the United States,” Richer said. “And, as you know, this process turned out to be not fundamentally flawed.”

There are some new wrinkles in the 2022 primaries in Maricopa County. For example: most of the ballot boxes have disappeared. Instead, the county has expanded the number of its polling stations, where all voters can either disembark or cast their ballots early.

But that’s my estimation – provinces can make small changes at the local level. Most elections are dictated by state law, such as how early July ballots are mailed to most Maricopa County voters at the beginning of July, as always.

While there was legislation to get rid of the state’s popular mail ballot system, enough Republicans, such as Richer and Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates, were lobbying to prevent it from becoming law. (A new law, enacting sweeping changes to the state’s early voting list, has yet to take effect.)

“We are facing many forces, many leaders within the Republican Party here in Arizona, and nationally, who continue to spread this misinformation,” Gates said. “But again, fortunately, we also have people who have stood up and supported our election workers.”

Gates specifically praised Republican House Speaker Rusty Powers, who angered Trump by rejecting attempts to overturn the 2020 election — and who has gained national fame for his testimony before the House committee investigating the January 6 riots. swaying alone blow up Some of the electoral bills are far-reaching.

“I think this signifies the recognition that our system is working, and that all of this speaks of problems in the system [was] “Political rhetoric, not reality,” Gates said.

Bill Gates, the Maricopa County Supervisor, testifies during a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on October 7, 2021, examining the Republican-led review of the 2020 elections in Arizona’s most populous Maricopa County.

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This reality is a testament to the work of officials such as Rey Valenzuela and Scott Jarrett, Maricopa County Joint Election Administrators.

Jarrett, who was hired in 2019, described the past two years as an experiment with fire. After all, he said he feels “energized” by the upcoming election. “I look forward to going back to the details of managing the elections,” he said.

Valenzuela says the duo are now spending more time proactively spreading the good information to fight the bad.

“On a personal level, this is difficult, because we want the voter to have the most accurate, most, and best information possible — not just to choose and participate in the process, but to know that the elections are, again, safe, secure, and they are fair.”

Both believe that — although the lies about the 2020 vote still resonate with much of the state’s Republican base — with the successful 2022 election at hand, the boycott may be able to turn the corner into 2024.

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