(TeaParty.org) – Arizona Republicans are pressing Dem officials as to the legality of so-called “emergency voting centers” that popped up in the last minute in places like Maricopa County.
As the Arizona Republic reported, the centers, set up by the Recorder’s Office, appeared between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Saturday and Monday on the days leading up to the midterm elections.
What counted as an “emergency” was entirely up to the voter.
The GOP in Arizona has voiced concern over these practices in the past and sent a letter to all recorders in Arizona to express that the centers may be used to skirt voting deadline laws.
Singling out Maricopa county they wrote, “It has come to our attention that the Maricopa County Recorder’s office may be systematically permitting electors to cast in-person early ballots between Saturday, November 3 and Monday, November 5, irrespective of whether such individuals have cited any articulable emergency.”
“If true, this practice impermissibly circumvents the statutory deadline and constitutes a de facto extension of general early voting,” they added.
Republican officials have requested that ballots that have come from the emergency voting centers be separated from regular ballots, for the sake of clarifying legality.
The Arizona Republic estimates there are around 3,000 ballots that would be in question.
They note, however, that “(Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes) would not confirm whether the office is complying with the request and separating the ballots.”
Fontes was interviewed on “Sunday Square Off” this week on local NBC station 12News, where he was asked to answer the charge that the emergency voting centers may favor Democrats due to their location in the state.
“There were five of them open on Saturday and Monday … two of them along I-10, Avondale and Tolleson. Not very far apart … there were none in the northwest valley, and some other areas didn’t have any.”
“How fair is this when vast swaths of the valley (Phoenix metro area) — and maybe some Republican districts some might argue — were left out of these voting centers while you have two very close to each other in a Democratic area?” the host asked.
“Here’s what’s interesting about this. On the one hand, we have people complaining that I shouldn’t be doing something in the first place. And on the other hand, when I do it they criticize me for the way it happens. And that’s fair. I’m an elected official, and I’ve got big shoulders,” Fontes replied.
That doesn’t answer much of anything, now, does it?
Fontes did explain, however, that the emergency voting centers had been requested by Tolleson mayor Anna Tovar, who endorsed Democratic Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema nearly a year ago.
“I could have gone, without any illness and — for any reason I could have gone to one of these centers for any reason at all,” the host continued.
“You would have had to have had an emergency,” Fontes replied.
“Democratic candidates were putting this number and address out on door hangers saying, ‘Just show up,’” the host pressed.
Fontes explained that, according to the law, states are allowed to make emergency voting available, but also admitted that those who utilized these centers were not evaluated as to whether or not there was an actual emergency at hand.
“It’s not my business what your emergency is, Brahm. I’ve got HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) laws that prevent me from asking. You’ve got your privacy that I have to respect, and by the way, what, pray tell, is the problem with giving voters access to the ballot box? That’s my first question,” Fontes explained.
While Arizona state law requires early voting to end the Friday before Election Day, it does allow for emergency voting to happen after this time.
Considering how many suspicious elections mishaps there have been that favor Democrats since last Tuesday, however, it’s hard not to notice that these emergency voting centers also favor Democrats, so the GOP is right to call into question their legality, and motive.