5 veterans on an advisory board to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema quit in protest, calling her ‘one of the principal obstacles to progress’

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks during the Senate Finance Committee as Chris Magnus testifies on his nomination to be the next U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., speaks during the Senate Finance Committee as Chris Magnus testifies on his nomination to be the next U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington

  • Five members of a veterans’ advisory council to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have resigned in protest.
  • They cited Sinema’s opposition to some of Biden’s agenda and her support for the filibuster.
  • The veterans said Sinema has “become one of the principal obstacles to progress” in the Senate.

Five members of a veterans’ advisory council to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema have resigned in protest over her holding up President Joe Biden’s massive social spending package and some of her other positions, The New York Times reported.

In a scathing letter to the senator obtained by The Times and highlighted in an ad from the political arm of progressive veterans’ group Common Defense, the members of the group, who informally advise Sinema on military and veterans’ issues in Arizona, charged her with “hanging your constituents out to dry.”

In a portion of the letter featured in the ad, the resigning members say they “feel they are being used as window dressing” for Sinema’s “own image,” not to provide guidance.

They particularly criticized on her opposition to plans to lower prescription drug prices, her support for maintaining the current Senate filibuster rules, and her not voting on the measure to create a bipartisan, independent commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection. (Sinema said she missed the vote for a “personal family matter.”)

“You have become one of the principal obstacles to progress, answering to big donors rather than your own people,” the veteran advisors said in the letter. “We shouldn’t have to buy representation from you, and your failure to stand by your people and see their urgent needs is alarming.”

The public resignation of about a quarter of Sinema’s veterans’ advisory board adds to the backlash Sinema is facing in D.C. and at home for her opposition to major components of Democrats’ spending package

Sinema has refused to specify which parts of the package she opposes, saying she wants to “respect” the closed-door negotiations with White House officials and Senate Democratic leadership.

The Arizona Senator reportedly doesn’t support a measure to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and is opposed to some of the proposed tax hikes on wealthy Americans and corporations that would roll back tax cuts passed under former President Donald Trump and provide up to $700 billion in funding for the bill, Insider previously reported.

Some top Democrats in Washington have expressed frustration over Sinema’s role in holding up the process as Congress barrels towards the end of the year.

And the Daily Beast has reported that Sinema has iced out many of her longtime friends and political allies and rankled progressive activists in Arizona.

“While it is unfortunate that apparent disagreement on separate policy issues has led to this decision,” Sinema said in a statement to The Times about the resigning veterans. “I thank them for their service and will continue working every day to deliver for Arizona’s veterans who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe and secure.”

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Trump is calling for a vote audit in another Arizona county even after the first recount in Maricopa proved Biden won

Former US President Donald Trump speaks during the Rally To Protect Our Elections conference on July 24, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Former President Donald Trump has his sights set on pushing for yet another vote audit in Arizona – this time, in Pima County.

  • Former President Donald Trump has alleged that “fictitious” votes were cast in Arizona’s Pima County.
  • He also called for a new election in the county to take place “immediately.”
  • But Pima County officials have spoken up to refute his claims, calling their elections free, fair, secure, and accurate.

Former President Donald Trump is once again pushing for a vote audit in Arizona, even after an earlier vote audit in Maricopa County proved that President Joe Biden won.

This time, the former president has his sights set on Pima County, the state’s second-most populous county after Maricopa.

Trump baselessly alleged in a statement on October 15 that there were “staggering anomalies and fictitious votes in Pima County’s mail-in returns.” He also alleged without evidence that the ballot boxes in the county were stuffed “with more ballots than were ever sent.”

“A new analysis of mail-in ballots in Pima County, Arizona, means the election was Rigged and Stolen from the Republican Party in 2020, and in particular, its Presidential Candidate,” Trump’s statement read. “Either a new election should immediately take place, or the past election should be decertified, and the Republican candidate declared a winner.”

In the same statement, Trump also urged GOP officials to “start a canvass of Republican voters” to “remove the obvious fictitious voters from the system.”

Chuck Huckelberry, a county administrator in Pima County, refuted the former president’s claims in an interview with NBC affiliate KVOA.

“Pima County conducted a free, fair, secure, and accurate election. The results were publicly audited via hand count by the County’s Republican and Democratic parties, and the results were certified by the Pima County Board of Supervisors and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey,” Huckelberry told KVOA.

Huckelberry emphasized that the county’s elections website has a “wealth of information” about its elections dating back to the 1990s, including an elections security plan.

“If there is anyone who believes they have evidence of wrongdoing, they should provide such evidence to proper investigative authorities, or file an action in the Pima County Superior Court or the US District Court,” Huckelberry said.

KVOA also spoke to Pima County recorder Gabriella Cázares-Kelly, who said that the county’s bipartisan elections integrity commission, which is made up of Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, and Green Party candidates, found “no reason” to question the 2020 vote results.

“We found no instances of deviations of elections protocols and no concerns of fraud have been brought to our attention,” Cázares-Kelly said.

Pima County’s local government took to Twitter to debunk the former president’s accusations, tweeting on October 16: “There seems to be some interest in Pima County’s 2020 election results. Fortunately, there is a wealth of information about it available online. Here’s a thread of links for anyone who might have the time or the inclination to take a trip down memory lane.”

The tweet thread from the county included links to the audits conducted on its vote count, the live feeds of its counting room, and a link to the official canvass of the 2020 election.

Separately, Trump has continued to claim that the audit in Maricopa County uncovered “undeniable evidence” of fraud. Earlier this month, the Cyber Ninjas’ vote recount in Maricopa County confirming Biden beat Trump, and by 261 more votes than was initially counted.

Arizona GOP officials also testified before Congress on October 7 that Biden won “free, fair, and accurate elections,” citing the results of the GOP-led vote audit.

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Arizona will spend $36 million to help families pay utility bills as a moratorium on service cutoffs expires

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey
  • Arizona passed a law prohibiting utility companies from shutting off power over missed bills in 2019.
  • That moratorium expired on Friday, The Arizona-Republic reported.
  • The state announced a new $36 million program to help families pay bills, on Friday.

Arizona will provide $36 million to help families with utility bills, the Arizona Department of Economic Security announced on Friday.

“The team at the Arizona Department of Economic Security continues to find new and innovative ways to support Arizonans lifting themselves out of financial challenges,” Gov. Doug Ducey said in the announcement.

The announcement comes as a two-year moratorium on service cutoffs expired, The Arizona-Republic reported.

The Arizona-Republic reported that in June 2019, an emergency rule passed by states regulators prevented utility companies from shutting off services for people who missed bills. The emergency rule came after a 72-year-old woman died after her power was shut off.

The pilot program will work with Arizona Public Service Co., the Salt River Project, UniSource Energy Services, Tucson Electric Power, and Southwest Gas.

The announcement said the funding would be directly applied to customers’ accounts once they’re deemed eligible for the program.

DES said it plans to also expand the program to all utility programs following this pilot program.

“Public-private partnerships like this are integral to ensuring families have access to the resources they need,” DES Director Michael Wisehart said in the announcement. “With the utility companies’ collaboration, we will be able to distribute assistance to help customers keep their lights on and their accounts current. We are grateful for their partnership in supporting Arizona families.”

The Arizona-Republic reported that the funds for the program are coming from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which was passed by Congress last December.

The state has rolled out several support programs during the pandemic including a rental assistance program.

However, earlier this month, a top official in President Joe Biden’s administration warned Ducey that millions in federal relief funds could be in jeopardy because of two anti-mask education programs, Politico reported.

In August, Ducey launched a grant program that used $163 million from federal funds to give to schools that stay open during the pandemic and also abide by state laws that prohibit mask and vaccine mandates. He also launched a $10 million program so families could send kids who went to schools that required masks or vaccines to private schools.

Deputy Treasury Secretary Adewale Adeyemo said he was concerned the programs “undermine evidence-based efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19,” and has given Ducey 30 days to explain how Arizona will “remediate the issues” before facing consequences including losing funding.

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70% of Arizona’s Democratic primary voters disapprove of Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: poll

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona attends a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting on October 06, 2021.
Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona attends a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meeting on October 06, 2021.

  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema would overwhelming lose her next Democratic primary if it was held tomorrow.
  • A new poll also found that 70% of Arizona’s Democratic primary voters disapprove of the first-term senator.
  • The Data for Progress poll suggests trouble if she doesn’t improve her support before a 2024 primary.

Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona may be in political trouble, according to a new poll from Data for Progress, a progressive research firm that advocates for liberal policies.

The poll found that 70% of potential Arizona Democratic primary voters – made up of both registered Democrats and independents – disapprove of the work Sinema is doing as a senator. The first-term lawmaker has refused to back the $3.5 trillion social spending bill essential to President Joe Biden’s agenda for reasons that remain unclear.

Furthermore, the poll found Sinema losing overwhelmingly to four potential Democratic challengers, including Reps. Ruben Gallego and Greg Stanton, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. Sinema, who won the Senate seat in 2019, will face a Democratic primary in 2024 if she runs for re-election.

In head-to-head matchups with each candidate, Sinema hovers around 25% support among voters:

  • 62% support Ruben Gallego, 23% support Sinema
  • 60% support Kate Gallego, 25% support Sinema
  • 59% support Greg Stanton, 24% support Sinema
  • 55% support Regina Romero, 26% support Sinema

Sinema, however, could face more than one primary opponent in three years. The poll found that if all five potential Democratic candidates ran, Gallego would lead the field with 23% of the vote, while Sinema would register at just 19%. Still, that could be her best shot at surviving a primary challenge.

Activists have actively begun recruiting challengers, including Gallego, to run against Sinema.

The poll also offers a clue as to why Democratic voters may be upset with Sinema: her opposition to Biden’s Build Back Better bill, which is currently moving through Congress.

The poll found that Arizona Democratic primary voters would be much more likely to vote for a candidate who supports the bill’s provisions, including closing tax loopholes, increasing taxes on the wealthy, and incentivizing clean energy use.

Sinema is notably opposed to prescription drug pricing reforms included in the bill, which 94% of respondents said would make them more likely to support another candidate in the 2024 primary.

The Data for Progress poll, conducted from October 8 to October 10, included 467 likely Democratic primary voters in Arizona and had a margin of error of 5 percentage points. Voters were reached via SMS text-to-web contact.

Sinema’s office did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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A Trump-endorsed candidate for Arizona governor is claiming that the January 6 Capitol rioters were ‘invited in by Capitol Police’

Kari Lake.
Kari Lake is running for Arizona Gov. in the state’s 2022 gubernatorial race.

  • Kari Lake, Trump’s pick for Arizona governor, claimed that the Capitol rioters were “invited in by Capitol Police.”
  • Lake is one of the candidates running in the 2022 gubernatorial election in Arizona.
  • She received Trump’s endorsement after she suggested that he be added to Mount Rushmore.

A Trump-endorsed candidate for Arizona governor claimed that the Capitol rioters were “invited in by Capitol Police,” appearing to push an unproven narrative that the riot was nonviolent.

“They haven’t been charged with a crime, and they were invited in by Capitol Police,” Kari Lake said during an interview with conservative news network RSBN at former President Donald Trump’s Oct. 10 rally in Des Moines, Iowa.

The US Capitol Police Force was criticized for its handling of the Capitol riot after some officers were seen posing with rioters for selfies and moving barricades aside for the mob to move forward.

However, there is plenty of footage and records of officers’ injuries to show how violent the breach of the Capitol building was. During a July 27 House select committee on Jan. 6, several Capitol officers testified to the racism and physical harm they experienced during the Jan. 6 riot.

According to the DOJ, more than 1,000 assaults were committed against police officers. However, conservative figures have repeatedly minimized the violence that took place at the Capitol on Jan. 6. In May, Georgia Rep. Andrew Clyde likened the Capitol rioters to tourists. And in September, North Carolina Rep. Madison Cawthorn said in an interview that the rioters mainly were “normal people” who were “kind of wandering in.”

At press time, 671 people have been charged with crimes in connection with the Capitol insurrection.

Lake did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

Lake is a former TV anchor who Trump endorsed after she called for his face to be added to Mount Rushmore. Separately, Lake also said she would not have certified the 2020 election results, and has echoed Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud.

trump mount rushmore
Lake won Trump’s favor when she called for him to be added to Mount Rushmore.

“Considering how much already at the time information we had about serious irregularities and problems with the election, I would not have certified it right then,” Lake said in an interview with right-wing news outlet One American News Network.

There is no evidence that the Arizona election results were unfairly skewed in favor of President Joe Biden. Arizona GOP officials testified before Congress on October 7 that Biden won “free, fair, and accurate elections,” per the results of a Republican-driven vote audit in Maricopa County. However, Trump has continued to falsely claim the audit uncovered “undeniable evidence” of fraud.

In his endorsement of Lake, Trump wrote that “few can take on the Fake News Media like Kari,” adding that she would make the “MAGA movement very proud.”

Trump also took the opportunity to hit out at Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey during his endorsement of Lake’s candidacy, saying Lake “will do a far better job than RINO Governor Doug Ducey – won’t even be a contest!”

Ducey lost favor with the former president when he certified the state’s election results while appearing to reject an incoming call from Trump. Ducey later tweeted on December 1 that all 15 counties had certified their results and that Arizona wasn’t going to “disenfranchise any voter”

“That’s the law. I’ve sworn an oath to uphold it, and I take my responsibility seriously,” Ducey tweeted.

Ducey will not be running for re-election in the 2022 Arizona gubernatorial election due to term limits. Lake is currently up against four other candidates for the GOP nomination.

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Arizona Republicans testified before Congress that Biden won ‘free, fair, and accurate elections’ in Maricopa County

GettyImages 1229385951
GOP officials appeared in Congress on Thursday, testifying that the vote recount in Maricopa proved that there were free, fair, and accurate elections in the county, which President Joe Biden won.

  • Arizona GOP officials told Congress that Biden won a “free, fair and accurate election” in Maricopa County.
  • They were testifying on the legitimacy of the vote count following a GOP-driven vote audit in the county.
  • One of the GOP officials told the House that lawmakers being unwilling to accept accurate election results are a “threat to our democracy.”

GOP officials from Arizona’s Maricopa County testified before Congress on Oct. 7, telling the House that the elections in the county were “free, fair, and accurate” and prove that President Joe Biden won there.

Three Republicans appeared before the House Oversight Committee to talk about the results of the Cyber Ninjas audit in Maricopa County: Jack Sellers, chairman of the Maricopa County board of supervisors, Bill Gates, the board’s vice-chairman, and Ken Bennett, a former Arizona secretary of state who liaised directly with the Cyber Ninjas.

“The election of Nov. 3rd, 2020, in Maricopa County was free, fair, and accurate,” Sellers said to the House on Thursday.

Gates told the House that he thought lawmakers being unwilling to accept the election results was the biggest threat to US democracy that he has seen in his lifetime.

“If elected officials continue to choose party over truth, then these procedures are going to continue on, these privately funded government-backed attacks on legitimate elections,” Gates said.

“As a Republican who believes in democracy, I dreamed of one day going to a nation that was trying to build a democracy and help them out. Perhaps a former Soviet republic like Belarus or Tajikistan,” Gates added. “I never could have imagined that I would be doing that work here in the United States of America.”

Bennett was also asked about the result of the Cyber Ninjas vote recount and reiterated to the House panel that the Ninjas’ hand count had found more votes for Biden than were initially recorded.

The GOP-led audit of the vote count in Maricopa County confirmed President Joe Biden won the election and resulted in former President Donald Trump losing 261 votes. However, Trump has continued to falsely claim the GOP audit uncovered “undeniable evidence” of fraud.

Separately, a fake version of the Cyber Ninjas Arizona audit report is circulating in QAnon Telegram groups. This falsified audit document, called an “Executive Summary,” bore a close resemblance to the official Cyber Ninjas audit but contained an additional line falsely claiming that Trump won the election and declaring that the “reported results are not reliable.”

The fake document was even debunked by Cyber Ninjas CEO Doug Logan, who had previously touted election conspiracy theories in favor of former President Donald Trump. In September, Logan also issued a statement to Vice clarifying that the fake audit document was “absolutely false” and not the document he submitted to the Arizona State Senate.

According to The Washington Post, Logan was asked to testify before the committee but declined. The Post added that the panel had asked Logan and the Cyber Ninjas to provide documents, but that request was not fulfilled.

The Cyber Ninjas did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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I had a $195 cannabis-infused dinner in Arizona’s red-rock spiritual wonderland. To say the food was incredible would be an understatement.

Joints laid upright on a table
Guests are offered joints before the meal.

  • The events company Cloth & Flame has begun staging cannabis-infused dinners.
  • Jamie Killin, a journalist, was intrigued despite having little experience using the drug.
  • “I had high expectations – especially for an event that retails at $195 per person,” Killin said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

I don’t think I could roll a joint if my life depended on it, and the last time I smoked marijuana was years ago when I split a joint among friends in Amsterdam.

But I’ve always been up for a new experience – whether that was trying cannabis with my high-school friends (and subsequently making myself sick) or purchasing a tin of gummies when marijuana was legalized where I live in Phoenix at the end of last year.

To give you an idea of my marijuana use, that tin of gummies lasted more than six months in my cabinet.

Despite my general naivete, when I heard about Cloth & Flame‘s new cannabis dinners, I was intrigued. A great meal and an Instagram-worthy tablescape go a long way with me, so I was game.

Cloth & Flame has facilitated high-end events for clients including Bentley, Chanel, and Google. I had high expectations – especially for an event that retails at $195 per person – but this meal exceeded them.

My boyfriend and I traveled about two hours north of my home to the mystical red-rock spiritual wonderland of Sedona and checked into a hotel. After a short drive in a charter bus, my fellow event goers and I were in a mountain-surrounded patch of forest by a stone-lined creek.

The evening started with a welcome mocktail, a cruise around the merch table, time to listen to a band performance – and a joint by the “canna-cabin.”

Waiter in white standing over dishes to be served
The dishes being served during the event.

Attendees were offered a joint donated by Copperstate Farms, with three options for strength. My boyfriend – who is marijuana-shy and tried to get out of this adventure multiple times – opted for the lightest option with me.

Before dinner, guests were given time to enjoy the sunset, smoke, lounge in a hammock, and, in my case, make a lot of Instagram stories.

The menu was a multicourse meal featuring fried chicken oysters on a mesquite waffle, poached pears on a bed of feta cheese, achiote-crusted pork, and brown-butter churros. To say the food was incredible would be an understatement.

The entire meal contained about 12 micrograms of THC – the primary component of cannabis that gets you high – and about six micrograms of CBD. Even as someone who wasn’t taking more than 5 micrograms of THC gummies a night, I knew this wasn’t a lot.

Before each course, our server asked if we wanted a “dosed” or “non-dosed” dish. I opted for dosed every time. My boyfriend, who did indulge in a couple puffs of our joint, did the opposite.

The night ended with craft seasonal lattes by the fire, stargazing, sound healing, and lounging around the various seating areas set up around the venue.

I can’t say I’ve been converted into a weed smoker – most of my high didn’t kick in until I was back in my hotel room – but I did appreciate the slow-paced high, dreamy atmosphere, incredible scenery, and, of course, the food.

Cloth & Flame and Copperstate Farms donated a portion of the proceeds from the event to the Last Prisoner Project, a nonprofit that focuses on helping those incarcerated for cannabis-related charges, a sobering reminder of how the drug hasn’t always been an accepted pastime.

This helped me decide to opt for merch, which also benefited the cause.

Between all the good vibes, activities, and a light marijuana buzz, I hardly even missed my usual glass of wine.

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Sinema Stalls: Constituents confront senator in Arizona State University bathroom over Build Back Better agenda and immigration

Sen. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., ask questions of the panel during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee on conditions at the Southern border, Tuesday, July 30, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Sen. Krysten Sinema, D-Ariz., ask questions of the panel during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee on conditions at the Southern border, Tuesday, July 30, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

  • Protesters confronted Sen. Kyrsten Sinema at Arizona State University, which employs her as a lecturer.
  • At one point, protesters followed Sinema into a bathroom on campus and continued listing their demands.
  • Another protest was organized Saturday night outside a corporate fundraiser for Sinema in Phoenix.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

After leaving Washington DC amidst tense budget negotiations, Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., has been repeatedly confronted by constituents who are demanding that she stop blocking the Biden Build Back Better agenda and to pass immigration reform.

On Sunday, constituents, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, and members of grassroots nonprofit Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA) confronted Sinema at the University of Arizona, which employs her as a lecturer in its School of Social Work.

At one point, several members of the group followed her into the bathroom and continued to list their demands while she was inside a bathroom stall, a video tweeted by the group showed.

An undocumented immigrant youth named Blanca told Sinema in the bathroom that she was brought to the US when she was three years old and has been unable to visit her grandfather in Mexico, who she said was deported in 2010 and passed away two weeks ago, because she does not have a path to citizenship, according to a video tweeted by the group.

Sinema stayed silent throughout the encounter.

“We knocked on doors for you to get you elected. And just how we got you elected, we can get you out of office if you don’t support what you promised us,” Blanca said.

LUCHA also organized a protest on Saturday outside the Royal Palms Resort and Spa in Phoenix where Sinema was meeting with corporate fundraisers for a “retreat” for her political action committee, The New York Times reported.

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Trump endorsed a candidate for Arizona governor right after she called for him to to be added to Mount Rushmore

trump mount rushmore
US President Donald Trump arrives for the Independence Day events at Mount Rushmore National Memorial in Keystone, South Dakota, July 3, 2020.

  • Trump endorsed an Arizona gubernatorial candidate right after she called for his addition to Mount Rushmore.
  • Kari Lake, the GOP candidate, is a former news anchor who has echoed Trump’s false claims of election fraud.
  • “She will do a far better job than RINO Governor Doug Ducey,” Trump wrote in a statement.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Former President Donald Trump endorsed a former news anchor for Arizona governor just hours after she tweeted at South Dakota’s governor to add him to Mount Rushmore.

Kari Lake, a former journalist for Fox 10 News in Phoenix, has risen to prominence by attacking the media, railing against vaccine mandates, and echoing Trump’s false claims of election fraud during the 2020 election – Trump narrowly lost the state to President Joe Biden by just over 10,000 votes.

“She is strong on Crime, will protect our Border, Second Amendment, Military, and Vets, and will fight to restore Election Integrity (both past and future!),” Trump said in a statement on Tuesday. “She is against Covid lockdowns, Cancel Culture, and will end ‘woke’ curriculum in our schools. She will do a far better job than RINO Governor Doug Ducey–won’t even be a contest!”

Despite a cozy relationship before the election, Trump’s feud with Ducey began after he certified the election for Biden in November 2020 – Ducey ignored a phone call from the president while signing the official paperwork.

“Arizona will not forget what Ducey just did,” Trump said to a crowd in Arizona just after Ducey certified the vote.

This story is developing.

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‘Staggeringly ignorant’: Maricopa County rebuts Cyber Ninjas’ charge that mail-in ballots should not have been sent

Maricopa County drop box
Volunteers help voters as voters drop off their ballots at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020, in Phoenix. In Arizona, Maricopa County, the nation’s second-largest voting jurisdiction, a steady stream of cars go in and out of the parking lot to deliver ballots at the drop box location.

  • According to the Arizona Secretary of State, voters can have mail-in ballots sent to a temporary address.
  • That vote, when cast, will be linked to their previous residence.
  • Cyber Ninjas falsely implies such votes are illegal.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Republican-led Maricopa County on Friday rebutted claims from the company behind Arizona’s controversial, partisan election review that more than 23,000 mail-in ballots should not have been cast during the 2020 election.

In its long-anticipated report, Cyber Ninjas did not find any evidence that votes were changed or that ballots were made out of Chinese bamboo. But the company – whose founder, Doug Logan, had previously claimed the election was “rigged” – appears to have tried to save face among its right-wing supporters by intimating that there was still wrongdoing.

One of Cyber Ninjas “critical findings” was that 23,344 mail-in ballots were cast by people who no longer resided at their address on file. These voters, the company asserted, “should not have received their ballots by mail because they had moved,” suggesting that they had been wrongly forwarded to the voters’ new address, a claim amplified by the spokesperson for former President Donald Trump.

But that is not true.

According to the office of Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican elected in November 2020, “As required by law, all election materials, such as ballots, are marked ‘Do Not Forward – Return Service Requested.'” Returned ballots initiate a process of removing the person from the voter roll.

But sometimes people move in the weeks before an election; they are allowed to request that their ballot be sent to a temporary address. According to Maricopa County, 20,933 voters did so in 2020.

As for the rest? Former Maricopa County residents who are in the military and deployed overseas – and other Americans who live abroad but previously called the Phoenix metropolitan region home – have to list their “address in the state in which [they] were last domiciled” in order to participate in a federal election, according to the Federal Voting Assistance Program, “Your voting residence is your address in the state in which you were last domiciled, immediately prior to leaving the United States.”

“Cyber Ninjas still don’t understand this is legal under federal election law,” the county posted on its official Twitter account. “To label it a ‘critical’ concern is either intentionally misleading or staggeringly ignorant.”

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