PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – In a move described by Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs described as “partisan politics at its worst,” the Legislature voted earlier this week to take $500,000 that had been earmarked for voter outreach and improvements to the state’s election systems. The money came from the Help America Vote Act.
“We had been working with the counties and election officials across the state for months on this plan to ensure that we were utilizing the dollars in the most effective way to improve elections in our state, which is what they were intended for,” Hobbs explained on “Good Morning Arizona” on Friday.
Part of the money was going to fund an education campaign for voters.
“We know – and we’ve been told by many federal agencies – that there are going to be attempts to disrupt the election with campaigns of misinformation. That was specifically what this public education was designed to combat,” Hobbs said. “We had support of all the counties for this plan.”
With the Primary Election coming up on Aug. 4, and about four months until the General Election, Hobbs, a Democrat, is not happy about the decision by the Republican-led Legislature.
Arizona’s Family has reached out to Arizona Senate President Karen Fann and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers but we have not heard back from either.
“I think it’s important to note that we had decided that putting together a statewide campaign was going to be the most effective use of the dollars,” Hobb said. “We are still intending to move forward to ensure that these elections are safe and secure and that voters have the information that they need. We’re working with the counties to be able to do that.”
Election security, particularly when it comes to mail-in ballots, has been a hot topic recently.
“I am very confident in the security that we have in place for all of our election systems. … I think that voters can anticipate that our elections – both in August and November – are going to be secure,” Hobbs said.
Some, including President Donald Trump, have said that mail-in voting is an invitation for fraud. “With millions of mail-in ballots being sent out, who knows where they are going, and to whom,” Trump tweeted on June 22. Several hours before that post, he tweeted “Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in out nations (sic) history – unless this stupidity is ended.”
If people can go out and protest, riot, break into stores, and create all sorts of havoc, they can also go out and VOTE — and keep our Election Honest. With millions of mail-in ballots being sent out, who knows where they are going, and to whom?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
Because of MAIL-IN BALLOTS, 2020 will be the most RIGGED Election in our nations history - unless this stupidity is ended. We voted during World War One & World War Two with no problem, but now they are using Covid in order to cheat by using Mail-Ins!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2020
Hobbs is among those who do not agree with that assessment.
“Arizona has a long track record of successful and secure and accurate vote by mail,” she said Friday. “It is probably the safest way to vote in this upcoming election, given the pandemic that we’re in. Voters can rest assured that there is security with vote by mail. It’s as secure as in-person voting and there are a lot of systems and processes in place that ensure the safety and security of ballots cast by mail.”
And for those who still want to vote in person, Hobbs said that they will be able to.
“We’ve been working with the counties for a long time to ensure that in-person voting is going to be safe and that voters won’t have to choose between their health and their right to vote,” she explained. One of the options her office is looking at is expanding early voting to reduce number of people voting in person on Election Day.