Elections Officials Feud

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All of Arizona’s county recorders wrote a letter to Secretary of State Michele Reagan, complaining about communications between their offices and her office because of what the recorders say is “ineffective and disrespectful” behavior by election director Eric Spencer. The recorders say Spencer has been verbally abusive to recorders and their staff members and has refused to answer questions. Evan Wyloge of the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting, who wrote an article about the situation, will talk about what’s happening between county recorders and the secretary of state’s office.

TED SIMONS: LATER IN THE PROGRAM, THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ARIZONA CHAPTER OF THE ACLU WILL BE HERE TO TALK ABOUT THE TRAVEL BAN. ALL 15- OF ARIZONA'S COUNTY RECORDERS RECENTLY WROTE A LETTER TO SECRETARY OF STATE MICHELE REAGAN, COMPLAINING ABOUT, QUOTE, "INEFFECTIVE AND DISRESPECTFUL" BEHAVIOR BY STATE ELECTIONS DIRECTOR ERIC SPENCER. EVAN BROKE WYLOGE THE STORY FOR THE ARIZONA CENTER FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING. HE JOINS US NOW. GOOD TO HAVE YOU.

EVAN BROKE: THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
TED SIMONS: ALL 15 COUNTY RECORDERS A LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE. GIVE US SOME BACKGROUND

EVAN WYLOGE: THERE HAS BEEN CONTENTION THROUGH THE SECRETARY OF STATE OFFICE AND COUNTY RECORDERS. PART OF THIS WENT TO THE 2016 CYCLE WHEN THERE WAS AN EXPECTATION THAT THEY WOULD GET AN ELECTION PROCEDURAL MAN YOU WILL UPDATED NORMALLY ONCE A YEAR. THEY DECIDED THEY DIDN'T WANT TO PRODUCE THAT AND THE COUNTY RECORDERS WERE GRADED. SINCE THEN WE HAVE SEEN THINGS DEVELOP LIKE A PLAN FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE TO OVERHAUL ELECTION PROCEDURES, GO BACK TO THE LEGISLATE O AND RUN A BILL LIKE LAST YEAR WITH CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND THE RECORDERS DIDN'T CARE FOR THAT EITHER. NOW WE COME TO LAST WEEK AND SEE THIS IS BOILING OVER. THERE IS DISAGREEMENT ABOUT THE POLICY STUFF AND THE BULK OF THE LATER THAT THEY SENT CONCERNED DECOR UM, INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS AND THE WAY THE COUNTY RECORDERS FEEL THEY HAVE BEEN TREATED.

TED SIMONS: AND THIS IS FOCUSED ON ERIC SPENCER. WHO IS ERIC SPENCER?

EVAN WYLOGE: ERIC SPENCER IS THE NUMBER THREE GUY IF YOU WILL. MICHELLE REAGAN, SECRETARY OF STATE, HER CHIEF DEPUTY, A GUY NAMED LEE MILLER AND ELECTION DIRECTOR ERIC SPENCER. HE RUNS THE DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE.

TED SIMONS: HE IS THE ONE THE RECORDERS SAY IS DISRESPECTFUL.

EVAN WYLOGE THEY SAID THEIR INTERACTIONS WITH THEM CONSTITUTED VERBAL ABUSE.

TED SIMONS: WE SHOULD ALSO MENTION THAT MR. SPENCER, HE WORKED WITH THE GOVERNOR'S OFFICE IN 2014 PASSING THE DARK MONEY LAW.

EVAN WYLOGE ERIC SPENCER COMES FROM THE WORLD OF REPRESENTING CAMPAIGNS, DOING ELECTION WORK, AND LAST YEAR HE TOOK THE LEAD ON SB1516 AFFECTIONATELY REFERRED TO AS THE DARK MONEY BILL.

TED SIMONS: OKAY. THEY DON'T GET ALONG. HE DOESN'T SEEM TO LIKE THEM. THEY DON'T LIKE HIM. THE COMMUNICATION IS NOT GOOD. WE GET THAT. THERE IS ALSO A CLAIM THAT ERIC IS THE LEGAL AND ETHICAL CONFLICT DEMANDING VOTERS BE REMOVED FROM VOTER ROLES. WHAT IS THAT ABOUT?

EVAN WYLOGE: ONE OF THE SECTIONS OF THE LETTER IN MY EYES AND OTHERS THAT PAY ATTENTION TO THIS STUFF A REFERENCE TO PURGE VOTERS WITHOUT PROPER DOCUMENTATION. THERE MAY BE REASONS THE SECRETARY OF STATE'S OFFICE MAY PASS ALONG A LIST OF CANCELLATION. THERE ARE REQUIREMENTS, IF YOU DON'T VOTE IN A CERTAIN NUMBER OF ELECTIONS, THEY CAN'T REACH YOU WITH A MAIL PIECE, YOU WILL BE CANCELED. WHAT WE HEARD FROM THE RECORDER, THEY HAVE A LIST IN THE MAIL AND THEY LOOKED AT IT AND SAW THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO CANCEL THE VOTERS AND THEY DIDN'T SEE WHY. THEY WERE SUPPOSED TO RECEIVE DOCUMENTATION AND THEY DIDN'T GET THAT. WHEN THEY ASKED IF ARE THE PROPER DOCUMENTATION, THEY SAID THOSE INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIP PROBLEMS CAME UP. THE RUDE DISMISSIVE ATTITUDE AND THEY DIDN'T GET WHAT THEY WERE LOOKING FOR. THEY DIDN'T HAVE JUSTIFICATION TO REMOVE THE VOTERS.

TED SIMONS: FROM YOUR STORY, IT SOUNDED LIKE THEY ASKED FOR JUSTIFICATION AND HE SAID BECAUSE I'M TELL YOU TO AND SHE DIDN'T BECAUSE SHE DIDN'T HAVE JUSTIFICATION.

EVAN WYLOGE SHE SAID SHE ASKED THREE TIMES, NEVER GOT IT AND SO SHE DIDN'T CANCEL THE VOTERS.

TED SIMONS: WHAT ARE THE COUNTY RECORDERS REQUESTING?

EVAN WYLOGE: THEY ARE LOOKING FOR A SITDOWN. FROM WHAT I HAVE BEEN TOLD RECENTLY, THEY HAVE A MEETING COMING UP. THEY ARE PLANNING TO HAVE REPRESENTATIVES OF THE COUNTY RECORDER ASSOCIATION TO SEE IF THEY CAN FIGURE OUT A WAY TO HASH THROUGH THE PROBLEMS.

TED SIMONS: AS FAR AS THE COMMUNICATIONS WITH THE SECRETARY OF STATE, ARE THEY EQUALLY AS TROUBLED, OR DO THE COUNTY RECORDERS JUST AS SOON GO TO HER AS MR. SPENCER?

EVAN WYLOGE: THEY HAVE REQUESTED SPECIFICALLY MORE INVOLVEMENT FROM SECRETARY OF STATE MICHELLE REAGAN IN THE MEETINGS THEY HAVE IN THE OFFICE.

TED SIMONS: AND AS FAR AS ERIC SPENCER IS CONCERNED, WHAT IS HIS REACTION?

EVAN WYLOGE HE SAID HE DID NOT PARTICIPATE IN PHONE CALLS. THAT WAS AN AREA OF CONTENTION. THEY ACKNOWLEDGED BACK AND FORTH ABOUT THE DOCUMENTATION THEY WERE ASKING FOR ABOUT THE LIST. HE SAID HE COULDN'T FIND IN OCTOBER WHEN THEY WERE ASKED FOR IT NOR NOW THE LETTER OR DOCUMENTATION THAT WOULD GIVE THE REASON FOR TAKING ANYONE OFF OF THE LIST. THEY SAID THERE MAY HAVE BEEN CONFUSION ABOUT WHAT THE LIST WAS FOR AND MAYBE THEY WERE GETTING MORE INFORMATION FOR ANOTHER STATE. OTHERS STATES CONTACT OUR STATE AND SAY WE WOULD LIKE MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THESE PEOPLE. RIGHT NOW, WE ARE WAITING TO GET MORE DOCUMENTS FROM THE SECRETARY OF STATE, MORE DOCUMENTS FROM THE RECORDERS TO SEE WHAT'S GOING ON.

TED SIMONS: I THINK MOST PEOPLE WANT TO KNOW THAT THE COUNTY RECORDERS, RESPONSIBLE FOR ELECTIONS AT LEAST THEY ARE SIMPATICO, ARE THEY TALKING?

EVAN WYLOGE: WE CAN EXPECT TO HEAR ABOUT IT IN THE NEXT FEW DAYS. WE MAY HEAR ABOUT IMPROVEMENTS OR AGREEMENTS IN THE RELATIONSHIP AFTER THAT.

TED SIMONS: THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THE STORY. I'M SURE YOU WILL KEEP AN EYE ON THIS.

EVAN WYLOGE: THANK YOU SO MUCH.

Evan Wyloge: Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

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