voter fraud Arizona Capitol Museum | Photo by Gage Skidmore

Plus two other Arizona stories for today.

Rep. Kelly Townsend, R-Mesa, will get a second crack at passing her election complaint bill, HB 2268, through the Arizona House Elections Committee Tuesday.

If passed and signed into law, the bill would establish a voter complaints hotline, and authorize the Arizona Attorney General to designate a representative to investigate a complaint while voting is still in progress. However, Townsend’s bill was pulled last minute on Tuesday, Feb. 4, during a scheduled hearing.

Opponents of the law argue bills like HB 2268 “sow fear in the hearts of our community by making them feel watched, threatened, and afraid of casting their vote.” They added that it allows anyone to threaten voters at the polls with calls to the Attorney General based on unfounded fears.

However, Townsend, who has been active in the debate over combat voter fraud, argued the voter registration process makes it difficult for county recorders to verify voter information in a 2019 USA Today Op-Ed.

Arizona established a commission to look into voter fraud in 2008. Only 30 cases so far have been referred to the State Attorney General’s Office, according to reporting by the Arizona Republic. Out of hundreds of thousands of registrations, only 20 were proved to be fraudulent. 

President Trump’s New Hampshire Rally – Arizona Is Next

President Donald Trump decided to celebrate New Hampshire Primary Day one day early with a rally in Manchester Monday night. The goal, according to reporting by the New York Times, was to steal the spotlight from his potential 2020 general election challengers. 

Trump floated the idea of Republican voters influencing the outcome of New Hampshire’s open primary system.

Unlike Arizona, New Hampshire allows all registered voters to participate in party preference elections. This means Republicans can vote for Democrats and vice versa.

Trump told the crowd that New Hampshire Republicans should vote for whomever he deemed would be the weakest candidate.

 “My only problem is I’m trying to figure out who is the weakest candidate. I think they’re all weak,” Trump said in the Times’ reporting. 

The President will be traveling to the Copper State February 19 for a rally at Arizona Veterans Memorial Stadium. 

At Trump’s 2017 rally in the City of Phoenix, a riot broke out afterward with Phoenix Police using tear gas to disperse the crowd. A separate rally in Mesa during the 2018 campaign cycle was more peaceful.

Ugenti-Rita Harassment Scandal Inspires Challenger

Even though the Arizona Senate has opted not to investigate alleged harassment by Scottsdale Republican Michelle Ugenti-Rita, her new primary opponent Adam Kwasman is making the allegations the center of his campaign.

“I don’t go to the bar and get body shots with lobbyists,” Kwasman said in reporting by the Arizona Republic. Kwasman’s attack references one of several allegations made by an unnamed former female lobbyist in court documents uncovered by the Arizona Capitol Times.

The unnamed female lobbyist also alleged Ugenti-Rita’s then fiancé, Brian Townsend, sent her explicit photographs of himself and the State Senator, and that Ugenti-Rita coaxed her into a hotel room at a professional conference. 

Kwasman previously served in the State Legislature in 2012, but left in 2014 after a failed congressional seat run. During that campaign, the Tucson native gained national attention when he staged a blockade of a bus carrying YMCA campers, mistaking it for one carrying unaccompanied migrant children.

He now lives in Scottsdale, and works as a private attorney.