Arizona AG: Secretary of State broke law, but May special election to proceed

May 12, 2016, 12:52 PM | Updated: May 13, 2016, 11:19 am
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (left) said Secretary of State Michele Reagan's office broke...
Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich (left) said Secretary of State Michele Reagan's office broke the law by failing to mail promotional pamphlets to more than 200,000 households in time for the state's May 17 special election, but statutes gave his office little recourse but to allow it to proceed. (AP Photos)
(AP Photos)

PHOENIX — An Arizona special election will go forward despite the secretary of state’s office illegally failing to mail publicity pamphlets to more than 200,000 households, state Attorney General Mark Brnovich said Thursday.

The attorney general did not pull any punches and said his office was launching an inquiry into the latest voting debacle in Arizona.

“We do believe the secretary of state did violate Arizona law,” he told media. “Unfortunately, there is nothing in the statutes to provide an adequate remedy.”

Brnovich said Secretary of State Michele Reagan’s office has admitted it violated the law by not mailing pamphlets to more than 200,000 households with multiple voters, but a state law gave his office little recourse to correct the error with just one week to the election.

“We’ve got to get this stuff right,” he said. “I cannot tell you how disappointed and frustrated that I am that, basically, tenets of our law are not being followed by other public officials.”

Chandler attorney Tom Ryan asked Brnovich’s office to reset the special election but the attorney general said it was too late.

“We determined that (canceling the election) wasn’t the best course,” he said. “That would ultimately lead to disenfranchising more voters and create more confusion.”

The ballots were supposed to reach voters 10 days prior to April 20, the start of early voting. Reagan spokesman Matt Roberts blamed a private vendor for the ballots not being received until 11 days prior to the special election.

Roberts didn’t say why the public wasn’t notified when the problem was discovered more than two weeks ago.

“When did the secretary of state know about this and why did it take weeks in order to inform the public or a complaint from Mr. Ryan to get this information forward?” Brnovich asked.

Brnovich said he is tired of repeatedly watching officials drop the ball each election year.

In the March presidential preferential election, voters waited hours to cast ballots in Maricopa County after the number of polling places was drastically reduced.

“It’s incredible that we just can’t get these things right,” Brnovich said.

Brnovich said his office will look into both voting complications and possibly changing statutes that would hold officials accountable and offer remedies should an issue arise.

“Whether it’s a statutory change, or if there’s any other violations of law which we don’t know about, we need to get to the bottom of those violations,” he said.

Brnovich said, without remedies, he is concerned the federal government may step in and run the state’s elections.

“I will work with anyone, any party, anywhere to make sure we stop having these fiascoes when it comes to our elections,” he said.

Brnovich said issues with Arizona’s voting system could eventually disenfranchise those who want to participate in government.

“It is a fundamental precept that one of the reasons people have confidence in our Republican-Democratic form of government is that they need to know elections are being done legally, fairly and competently,” he said.

Arizona Election

(From left: AP Photo/Gregory Bull; Facebook Photo/Katie Hobbs)...
KTAR.com

Katie Hobbs says container wall at border gaps not best use of Arizona resources

Democratic candidate for Arizona governor Katie Hobbs said state resources at the southern border would be better used on measures that weren't "political stunts," referring to shipping containers put in place at wall gaps.
14 hours ago
Republican U.S. senatorial candidate Blake Masters speaks at a campaign event in Phoenix on Aug. 1,...
Kevin Stone

Blake Masters thinks independents will back him over Sen. Mark Kelly

Blake Masters, the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Arizona, said Wednesday he thinks the key independent bloc will support him in his effort to unseat Sen. Mark Kelly despite recent polling showing otherwise.
2 days ago
FILE - Protesters in Phoenix shout as they join thousands marching around the Arizona state Capitol...
Kevin Stone

Maricopa County attorney says court ruling didn’t resolve Arizona abortion law

Maricopa County’s top prosecutor said Tuesday that last week’s court ruling on abortion didn’t resolve the issue of what the law actually is in Arizona.
3 days ago
Arizona gubernatorial candidates, from left, Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake. (Getty Images Photos)...
Kevin Stone

Katie Hobbs, Kari Lake set to participate in town hall event next week

Katie Hobbs and Kari Lake won’t be debating anytime soon, but Arizona’s gubernatorial candidates are both scheduled to participate in a forum next week in Phoenix.
3 days ago
(Facebook Photo/Rio Verde Fire District)...
Jim Cross

Prop 310 would create tax to help fund rural Arizona fire districts

Here are the pros and cons of Arizona's Prop 310, which would create a 0.1% statewide sales tax to help fund rural fire districts.
3 days ago
House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., greets supporters at DMI Companies in Monongahela, ...
Associated Press

McCarthy unveils House GOP’s midterm agenda in Pennsylvania

MONONGAHELA, Pa. (AP) — House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy on Friday confronted President Joe Biden and the Democratic majority in Congress with a conservative midterm election agenda filled with Trump-like promises, working not only to win over voters but to hold together the uneasy coalition of his own party that has struggled to govern. McCarthy, […]
7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
...
Sanderson Ford

Don’t let rising fuel prices stop you from traveling Arizona this summer

There's no better time to get out on the open road and see what the beautiful state of Arizona has to offer. But if the cost of gas is putting a cloud over your summer vacation plans, let Sanderson Ford help with their wide-range selection of electric vehicles.
Arizona AG: Secretary of State broke law, but May special election to proceed