Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ballot harvesting bill is back - but no evidence for ballot harvesting

If ever there was a poster child for the triumph of truthiness over truth, this is it.

Despite no evidence for voter fraud, this year's Idioture will once again take up a bill banning assisting voters to get their early ballots counted. Howard Fischer at Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required - also in Daily Star) reports.

Insisting there must be fraud taking place, a Republican-controlled House committee voted Monday to make it a felony to take someone else’s early ballot to a polling place.

The 4-2 party-line vote on HB2023 came after a series of speakers, many with links to the Republican Party, said they have heard of situations where groups collect ballots and then choose to turn in only those where the vote is likely to go the way they want. They said that can be as simple as figuring out the political registration of the person whose ballot is being picked up to peering through less-than-opaque envelopes.

More than two hours of testimony, however, turned up no actual evidence beyond hearsay. Even state Elections Director Eric Spencer conceded he could point to no specific instances where someone tossed away someone else’s early ballot, something that already is a crime.

But Rep. Michele Ugenti-Rita, R-Scottsdale, who chairs the House Education Committee, said it should not be necessary to wait before outlawing what has been termed “ballot harvesting.”

“It increases the opportunity for fraud to exist,” she said.

As far as I know, there is no law on the books that outlaws murder by seaweed. But, according to Ugenti's logic, we should have one before it happens.

And Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, said it’s irrelevant whether there is fraud or not.

“What is indisputable is that many people believe it’s happening,” he said.

“You can’t really argue with that,” Mesnard continued. “And I think that matters.”

See? For these dolts, truthiness is what matters.

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