On today's BradCast, results, as reported by computer tabulators, from Tuesday's primary elections in Florida and Arizona and primary runoff elections in Oklahoma. Also, more details on what went so terribly wrong in Maricopa County, AZ which kept many voters from being able to cast a vote at all. Nevada's June primary disasters were far worse than reported. And an answer to at least one mystery regarding 2016 Presidential ballots in Michigan. [Audio link to complete show is posted at end of article.]
First up, among the noteworthy results we cover from yesterday's midterm primary elections...
- In Florida, progressive Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum came from seemingly out of nowhere for an upset win of the Democratic nomination for Governor. If the Bernie Sanders-endorsed Democrat defeats the Donald Trump-endorsed Rep. Ron DeSantis in November, he'd become the state's first African-American Governor. That, as the current two-term Governor Rick Scott won his primary to vie for incumbent U.S. Senator Bill Nelson's seat, in what will likely become the most expensive U.S. Senate race this year (and, possibly, in U.S. history).
- In Arizona, establishment favorite Rep. Martha McSally held off two challengers from the hard right to win the GOP nomination to fill the seat being vacated by the state's retiring U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R). She'll face off against Democratic nominee Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in November for a seat that Dems believe they may be able to flip from "red" to "blue", even in a state like Arizona, in a very anti-Trump year. And Republican Gov. Greg Ducey --- who will soon name a replacement for the state's other U.S. Senate seat, vacated by the death of Sen. John McCain --- will now face off against David Garcia, a Latino and former educator who won the Democratic nomination for Governor, in a year in which teachers have walked out in protest of education funding cuts in so-called "red" states Arizona and Oklahoma. (Also of note, Republican Sec. of State Michelle Reagan lost her primary for re-election to the hard-right Steve Gaynor who is calling for English-only elections in AZ. Democratic nominee Katie Hobbs should see an opening there in the race to become the state's top election official)
- And, speaking of teachers and Oklahoma, it was a "bloodbath" in the primary runoff elections for incumbent GOP state legislators who voted against recent tax hikes to pay for new education funding. Just 4 of the 19 Republican state legislators who voted against the tax hike to give teachers a long-overdue raise have survived to run for re-election on this November's ballot.
Then, we turn to the massive problems at polling places in Maricopa County (Phoenix), AZ on Tuesday, as at least 62 polling places were unable to open for hours in the morning. It now appears that the reason was electronic pollbooks which were not properly set up, or set up at all, or which couldn't get Internet access. That effectively prevented voters from being checked in to vote on the County's hand-marked paper ballot voting systems (which use computer optical-scanners to tally votes.)
Remarkably, the County's Republican-majority Board of Supervisors rejected the recommendations of both Sec. of State Michelle Reagan (R) and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes (D) to seek a court order to keep polling places open for an extra two hours at precincts which failed to open on time on Tuesday.
As to the electronic pollbook disasters that kept them from opening in the first place, Fontes blames an IT contractor for not supplying as many personnel as promised for polling place installation and tech support. The contractor, Insight Enterprises, blames Fontes for being under prepared. What's clear for the moment is that voters --- potentially thousands of them --- were prevented from voting entirely because, once again, a voting jurisdiction has relied on oft-failed, mission-critical computer systems, supported by private vendors, to run our public elections without backup plans, such as paper pollbooks in this case.
We also learn this week that the failures reported during and shortly after Nevada's primary elections in June were much worse than officials and the private voting system vendor admitted to the public when the state's new, 100% unverifiable touchscreen voting systems failed across the state. A new report from the Reno Gazette-Journal, based on public records requests, finds that complaints about candidates missing from ballots and selections already filled in on the screen for some voters, were far more numerous than previously known. Nonetheless, election officials in the state are standing by their vendor (Dominion Voting, which took over for Sequoia Voting Systems) and, as the paper notes, parroting back talking points almost word-for-word from the voting machine manufacturer in hopes of minimizing the massive problems as little more than "human error" that did not effect reported results. (Sound familiar?) Evidence reported by the RGJ strongly suggests otherwise.
Finally, with the 22-month federal requirement for retaining all ballots and other elections materials from the 2016 Presidential election ending next week (September 8th), a voting rights group now known to be allied with the Democratic Party has requested copies of all 2016 general election ballots from the state of Michigan. The massive, and expensive, public records request should prevent the ballots, in that state at least, from being destroyed for now, after an attempt to hand-count them by Green Party Presidential Candidate Jill Stein was ended by a Republican court challenge in 2016. That, despite Trump's stunning, if unverified, upset win in the state by just over 10,000 votes and some 75,000 ballots said to have contained no vote for President at all, according to the computer-tabulated results. No such records request has yet been filed in either Wisconsin or Pennsylvania, however, despite the fact that had just three votes at each precinct in those three states been recorded for Hillary Clinton instead of Trump, she, not he, would now be President of the United States...
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)