Journalists’ Roundtable: Ballots as public records, Lake’s announcement and more

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It’s Friday, and that means it’s time for another edition of Journalists’ Roundtable. To discuss the week’s top stories, we were joined by Jeremy Duda with Axios Phoenix, Howie Fischer with Capitol Media Services and Camryn Sanchez with Arizona Capitol Times.

This week’s Journalists’ Roundtable covered:

  • Trial: Ballots as public records
  • Lake to announce for Senate next month
  • Open Primary initiative launched
  • House Committee on school vouchers
  • Shope to investigate Hobbs’ security guard

Trial: Ballots as Public Records

Jeremy Duda: “The broader level like all of these lawsuits that we will never stop talking about here, is about Kari Lake’s refusal to accept her defeat from last year’s election. More specifically, it is about, she wants to get 1.3 million ballot envelopes that voters use to return their early ballots, to examine the signatures, basically to aid her other lawsuits, to determine whether the signatures were forged, were these really the correct voters who signed them? But there’s an issue in whether these are public records. Her attorney put in a records request for this earlier in the year, I believe when one of the infinite number of her lawsuits was going to trial. The country rejected and said ‘These are not public records, there are exemptions in the law for voter signatures.’ They are now in court trying to figure out if, in fact, these do qualify as public record.”

Howie Fischer: “What’s interesting about the debate is that Bryan Blehm, Lake’s lawyer, who has been Lake’s lawyer through all of these ill-fated efforts, shall we say, kept saying ‘Well here’s why we need them.’ He wanted to bring in people from We the People, these are folks associated with the ‘audit’ after the 2020 election. They could go ahead and review the signatures and the judge said ‘No! This is not about why you want the signatures, this is about a simple question. Are these voter signatures, the ballot envelopes with the signatures and your phone number on it and the date, are these public record?’ Now there’s a section in the state law, an election code, that says that parts of the voter file are not public. Now it’s a question of is this part of the voter file?”

Camryn Sanchez: “Yeah, which is a little awkward. I think it was kind of the butt of a lot of joking around which is not what you want, especially if you’re the attorney on that case. I assume he’s getting paid a lot, but yeah, it was sort of them trying to put forward evidence and produce witnesses and the judge was just saying ‘No, no, no, that’s not what we’re doing here.”

Jeremy Duda, Axios Phoenix; Howie Fischer, Capitol Media Services; Camryn Sanchez, Arizona Capitol Times

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