A raucous hearing on election fraud in the Arizona primary is still going on in Phoenix. As of this writing, the hearing was moved to a separate room and is currently in recess due to continued outbursts of protest in the gallery.
Helen Purcell began the Arizona Election Fraud hearing by saying “I want to begin by apologizing what took place on March 27th… As I said in the past, I am deeply sorry.”
However, it’s clear that the people of Arizona have no intention of forgiving or forgetting, given the anger expressed by those who signed up to speak on alleged election fraud. The rowdy crowd is parading up to speak in large numbers, calling for Purcell’s resignation and for a revote.
“Our right to vote and to have that vote counted is the most direct way that citizens can participate in our political system… People tried to do our civic duty and couldn’t,” Arizona citizen Patrick Syfter said. “You made people choose between voting and keeping their jobs… You must resign. Stop pretending that you represent us. We do not want platitudes… This will not end today. We will be back every vote to hold you accountable.”
Air Force veteran Dean Palmer described his horrific experience voting in Maricopa County.
“My experience down there, it was tough… People in wheelchairs and canes in the heat… We were out of provisional ballots at 7am… So many people, they wheeled up there and got hit with the sprinklers. So many people, they couldn’t take it. They had to leave, people were crying.”
The executive director of the Arizona Students’ Association shared the testimony of a student who had just come back from a one-year tour in the Army.
“I just spent a year laying down my life to protect the rights of Americans. I faced death every single day. One of the things I kept telling myself was “It was worth it.” … Yet the right that I looked at death over a year for was taken from me.”
“There were no parking spaces, no handicapped spots, and when I went back to my car I was afraid that I would get a parking ticket,” said another woman.
The mood of the crowd was often raucous, cheering wildly at every mention of a revote and booing every time Purcell or Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan tried to shrug off responsibility. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, who chaired the hearing, could barely keep order as the people often shouted for a revote, and at one point the hearing broke down completely as citizens cried out that their place in line to speak had been skipped.
Arizona State Representative Jonathan Larkin (D-Glendale) is the only member of the hearing who has openly called for Purcell to resign. He demanded to know how voters can get in touch with Purcell after the hearing. When she advised them to go to her website, he dryly asked, “And you’re ready for the flow this time?”
Rep. Larkin was often silenced by Representative J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) throughout the proceedings, particularly when Larkin linked the voting suppression of the previous primary to the passage of the infamously unpopular State Bill 1516, which “permits the transfer of campaign funds from one candidate to another.” In other words, the bill allows candidates to treat each other to cash injections whenever they please, which critics say would lead to undue influence and back-door deal-making.
Secretary of State Reagan said “We could debate 1516 all day,” and the crowd shouted “Do it!” after which Rep. Mesnard snidely mocked the crowd with “Do you guys even know what 1516 is?” (This drew a forceful round of boos.)
Mesnard repeatedly told the crowds that no revote would be taken, despite repeated insistence from Arizona citizens that their voices had not been heard in this primary.
At another point, there was a confrontation between a protester and officers who attempted to remove him.
The tone of the election fraud hearing is summed up best by a citizen who said, “The corruption has become so prevalent, that you became comfortable, and you became so comfortable, that you became lazy, and you became so lazy, that you got caught. You (Purcell) are a snake in the grass and we see you!”
Nathan Wellman is a Los Angeles-based journalist, author, and playwright. Follow him on Twitter: @LightningWOW