Arizona Primary Postmortem

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We’ll review the results of the Arizona presidential preference election with political analysts Stan Barnes and John Loredo.

Ted Simons: State lawmakers are planning a hearing on yesterday's long voting lines and areas of the House were taken over by activists today. Here to talk about that in our weekly legislative update is Hank Stephenson from the Arizona Capitol Times. Good to have you.

Hank Stephenson: Thanks for having me.

Ted Simons: Busy times. What's this business of protests inside the House? What happened here?

Hank Stephenson: It was actually at the Capitol Complex, the compound around the House, Senate, the governor's office. But the House was the only one to actually lock their doors, put out security guards, actually start wanding people for metal and restrict entry into the chamber. This was all over 180, 200 protesters, same people who shut down the road to Trump last weekend. So I think that kind of had them spooked. They said that they were a little bit worried about the attack in Brussels earlier in the week, which doesn't really connect to most people I think. But basically the chamber started wanding people, checking it out. Making sure that nobody was coming or going who shouldn't be there. This is the people's house. This is a public building that we all pay for and should have relatively unrestricted access to. So it was very strange for the House to put up the security that they did. Very telling that the Senate didn't bother to do the same.

Ted Simons: I was going to ask, no reciprocation.

Hank Stephenson: Nothing from the Senate. Normal business day for them. So again.

Ted Simons: This was basically at the complex, not necessarily inside the House, but were these protesters protesting long lines, were they protesting Trump?

Hank Stephenson: It was a little bit of all of the above. There were some big Trump mannequins out there. It was a lot of stop the hate. No more SB 1070-bills. A lot of the Latino get out the vote groups who have myriad issues they are frustrated over, Trump being the big target was top of the list there.

Ted Simons: Well, a lot of folks were frustrated yesterday over the long lines at polling places. Lawmakers scheduling a hearing next week?

Hank Stephenson: The House elections committee will hold a hearing next week to flush out some of these issues. I think the Secretary of State will be meeting with some of the County recorders to do the same. Every elected official in the state right now is going to be sitting down with their top staffers trying to come up with the list of reasons that it was such an unmitigated disaster.

Ted Simons: But we should note it was unmitigated disaster in Maricopa County. Did we hear of any problems elsewhere around the state?

Hank Stephenson: Nothing even close to the degree of problems that we had here in Maricopa County.

Ted Simons: Maricopa County, all the counties, I think the last budget there was cuts to election procedures through the counties, correct?

Hank Stephenson: There have been cuts last year over the years. I mean, we're moving more and more as a society towards early voting, mailing in your ballot. I think that the County recorders were a little bit too -- specifically our County recorder Helen Purcell was far too optimistic on their calculations of how many people would be voting by mail. Probably didn't see the increase or didn't expect the increase that they actually saw from newcomers to presidential primary elections. The Trump supporters essentially, the Bernie Sanders supporters who may have just registered to go out and vote for those people. A confluence of different issues hitting at once creating a disaster like we have never seen before.

Ted Simons: We should mention Purcell didn't help by initially blaming voters.

Hank Stephenson: Blaming Independent voters who shouldn't have been there in line to cast ballots because.

Ted Simons: Does she have a point?

Hank Stephenson: No. Well, every person has the right to request a ballot. Whether that ballot will be counted or not. I think to some degree -- you know, it's up for debate how prevalent this was. It might be a bit of a red herring. But they are not able to vote. Those ballots will not be counted, so what's the point? If you're ten people in line slowing you down then maybe they shouldn't be there.

Ted Simons: We also heard reports that some folks who registered Democrat, Republican, the rolls say you're an Independent. There's a provisional aspect, puts you out of line. Seemed like everything was wrong.

Hank Stephenson: Yes. Yes. Amazing. I don't think you have probably ever seen anything like that. I certainly haven't in my lifetime. When the races are called at 8:30ish and you're still waiting in line to vote at 12:30 at night after the polls have closed at 7:00, something is hugely wrong there.

Ted Simons: So next week Helen Purcell and Secretary of State Michele Reagan will be testifying?

Hank Stephenson: I would imagine so. I don't think that's been laid out yet. If they are not there I'm sure people will be wondering why not.

Ted Simons: The governor calls for Independents to be able to vote in the presidential preference election. Is that likely to happen?

Hank Stephenson: No. It is not. Not through the legislature. The legislature is actually moving the opposite direction of making the presidential primary elections more controlled by the parties. Maybe going into a caucus mode. Having the parties pay for them themselves as opposed to voters or citizens paying for it. Because that is somewhat inherently unfair that Independents are required to fork over their tax dollars to pay for the election yet cannot vote unless they join one party. So that coming out of the legislature I can't even imagine that happening. I thought it was fascinating that Ducey called for it, though. We have four years to work on this until next time. Maybe things will change by then. The current legislature is not going to --

Ted Simons: It was an interesting statement. Good stuff, Hank. Thanks. And former baseball major leaguer and broadcaster Joe Garagiola, senior, passed away at the age of 90. He grew up in St. Louis across the street from Yogi Berra. He went on a long, celebrated career as a broadcaster. He also hosted game shows and filled in for Johnny Carson on the tonight show. He Washington as part of the Diamondbacks broadcast team. He appeared here in 2008 and we talked about a number of things including his love for Arizona.

Joe Garagiola: If I had to use one word it's a people's thing. They care about each other. That's what life is all about if I can get a little bit philosophical. We have to keep each other warm. You have to help me. Down at the reservation with my kids you know what I'm doing down there, we have a prayer I got out of guide post. Simple. Teach me, lord, to know that every day on every street there's a chance for me to be God's hands and feet. And in Arizona, I find a lot of people; this is a very charitable town. In fact I kid about it. I have never seen a town with so many charitable banquets. All good causes. [Laughter] I tell people if you got a rotten cause, I'm coming, man.

Ted Simons: When people see you they see someone who is up, charged, ready for life. What gets you up in the morning and what keeps you happy at night?

Joe Garagiola: Well, you know, I guess I live by it. What's the sense of me telling how bad I feel? Number one most people are glad that you feel bad and the other half don't really care. I don't know how to answer that question, but I if had a choice between smiling and growling I'll take the smile.

Ted Simons: Joe Garagiola dead at the age of 90. That's it for now. I'm Ted Simons. Thank you so much for joining us. You have a great evening.

Stan Barnes: Political Analyst
,John Loredo: Political Analyst

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