Posts

Elections

Voter Fraud Complaint Upends Push for Universal Vote-by-Mail in Arizona

Arizona needs election reform, but not the type our political class wants.

An interesting revelation came to light earlier this month that has added fuel to the fire over the debate to implement universal vote-by-mail in Arizona.

Several weeks ago news broke that a complaint had been filed with Attorney General Mark Brnovich outlining possible felony voter fraud by the son of Democrat State Representative Mitzi Epstein. According to the complaint, 29-year-old Daniel Epstein has lived in New York since at least 2017. An extensive online paper trail of Facebook posts and employment information indicates that he moved to the Empire State to attend New York University and, after graduating from NYU two years ago, continued to live and work there as an actor.

Yet living 3,000 miles away has not stopped him from voting in multiple Arizona elections by mail from his parent’s home, including the most recent Tempe City Council race in March. How these mail-in ballots were cast is uncertain, which is why a deeper probe into the matter is warranted.

Usually very outspoken and active on social media, Rep. Epstein has yet to comment on these allegations. She likely understands the gravity of the situation and had to be aware of her son’s voting patterns since the ballots were sent to her home. Ultimately, she will have to explain why her 29-year-old son, who has been working as an actor in New York for years, is still casting ballots in Arizona elections.

This complaint clashes with the narrative being pushed by media outlets, liberal pundits, and Democratic Party leaders looking to use COVID-19 as an excuse to implement universal vote-by-mail. 

For more than two months, Republicans have been attacked relentlessly for opposing this plan for the 2020 election. Opposition is tantamount to wanting people to die from coronavirus, and concerns of voter fraud are scoffed at as unfounded “conspiracy theories.”

Yet ample research and evidence prior to this complaint already indicate that mail-in voting is susceptible to fraud. According to the bipartisan commission on federal election reform, chaired by former President Jimmy Carter, the findings concluded that absentee ballots remain “the largest source of potential voter fraud” in the electoral process. The New York Times reported in 2012 that there was bipartisan consensus that votes cast by mail are “less likely to be counted, more likely to be compromised and more likely to be contested than votes cast in a voting booth.”

Here in Arizona, it is easy to see how our Permanent Early Voter List (PEVL) system can be abused. Since the list is permanent, voters stay on the rolls long after they are ineligible to vote. There are numerous examples of people finding ballots in interesting locations or receiving ballots from voters who have moved away or have died.

The only safeguard in the election process prior to an early ballot count is an examination of the signature on the front of the envelope. Poll workers do their best to verify the authenticity of the signature but this process becomes an impossible task when hundreds of thousands of early ballots are dumped in their laps on election day.

Arizona needs election reform, but not the type our political class wants. Though we should maintain our vote-by-mail system (which is one of the most accessible in the nation for voters), policymakers need to take a closer look at cleaning up our voter rolls and addressing the problem of early ballot stacks being dropped off on election day. The latter issue has turned into a nightmare for election officials, has led to mistakes by overworked poll workers and delayed results for weeks after polls had closed.

These fixes are long overdue and should take precedence over attempts to make it easier to game our election system.

Elections

Meet the Hudson Valley’s Anti-AOC

Is Washington, D.C. ready for a Christian Arab, pro-life—and pro-Israel!—glamorous, conservative, Second Amendment stalwart, fashion model cancer-survivor as a member of Congress?

Ola Hawatmeh is a name to learn and remember. This dynamic conservative Republican woman appears poised to win the GOP nomination to oppose a left-wing, first-term Democratic incumbent in a mostly rural and small-town, conservative district covering the Catskills and the Hudson Valley running south from the suburbs of Albany to Poughkeepsie.

Hawatmeh (pronounced ha-WAHT-meh) was born in New York state and grew up in the district. She’s a native speaker of Arabic as well as English.  She is the devout daughter of Eastern-Rite Christian parents who settled in the Hudson Valley after leaving their native homes in Jordan and Lebanon.

Ever since her surprise victory in New York’s 14th district primary and easy ride to the general election in 2018, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has captured much of the nation’s attention as a young, energetic, female federal legislator with a passionate oratorical style and glamorous looks.

Ocasio-Cortez is appealing on her side of the ideological divide because she dramatically symbolizes the possibility that an outsider can beat a well-funded pillar of the old-boy network. She offers an attractive face for the anti-establishment, left-wing of the Democratic party. She is an uncompromising socialist in an environment where that stance wins votes and accumulates power.

New York’s 19th district now is about to launch the political career of the Anti-AOC. If elected in November, Hawatmeh will become La Pasionaria of conservative politics.

A graduate of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, Hawatmeh is an entrepreneur and advocate of women’s advancement and rights. No, she is not a left-wing feminist. She is deeply conservative.

She is pro-life, pro-family, and committed to the traditional status of marriage. She is a proud and nurturing mother of three sons who is now single because she went through a very unhappy divorce. Like so many women and men who have been divorced in our society, she believes in the sanctity of marriage at least as much—and probably more so—than many people whose marriages have survived human failing and the tendencies of contemporary culture.

Hawatmeh’s name may be hard to pronounce and remember, but her image is hard to forget. She is in the business of glamor. She is a fashion designer and a model who has built a good business all on her own. She’s also a cancer survivor.

She is the antithesis of a political insider. She is a classic outsider whose passion for politics was kindled by Donald Trump’s election in 2016. Like so many others from immigrant families, she considers it a great privilege to be welcomed into the United States, and she looks dimly upon illegal immigration.

Is Washington, D.C. ready for a Christian Arab, pro-life—and pro-Israel!—glamorous, conservative, Second Amendment stalwart, fashion model cancer-survivor as a member of Congress?  I am.

My wife and I are friends of Ola’s. She has been to our home for dinner. We have attended Mass with her at the Maronite Catholic church. She is a woman with a great heart, a woman of decency, a woman of depth. It’s true that all that glitters is not gold. In Ola Hawatmeh’s case, however, the woman who glitters is genuine gold.

Can she be elected?

She appears to be on her way to winning the Republican nomination. She has one primary opponent, a young trial lawyer who raised about $14,000 in the first quarter of 2020. Hawatmeh has raised $266,000 during that period and spent only $11,000 of it.

Congressional primaries in her district are usually very low-turnout affairs. This year’s primary is scheduled for June 23, and it should be expected that turnout will be suppressed more than is normal because of COVID-19.

If Hawatmeh is the nominee for the November election, she will face Democrat Antonio Delgado. Delgado is a native of the district, but his career path and his ideology are out of step with its conservative constituency.

Before his election in 2018, Delgado was a trial lawyer in the Manhattan office of the huge international law firm Akin Gump. Delgado defeated one-term conservative Republican Rep. John Faso during an election with an extraordinarily high turnout for a midterm. Delgado’s margin was not large, and it could be said he won on the coattails of a massive national campaign by the Democrats.

Delgado has a large campaign war chest for 2020, mostly accumulated through contributions from Akin Gump partners, other trial lawyers, and the “lobbying community.”

This year’s federal elections will take place under unprecedented circumstances. Anything could happen.

How conservative is New York’s 19th district? Donald Trump won it by a solid margin—6.8 percent—in 2016, even though his campaign, doomed to lose the Empire State in a blowout, put no resources into winning votes there. Hillary Clinton’s statewide victory margin was 22.5 percent.

If Trump wins re-election, it is likely he will have coattails to carry Hawatmeh into Congress.

The D.C. Republican establishment has yet to take the outsider Hawatmeh seriously. She certainly does not fit their stereotype. Party leaders and major donors should be giving her more support now. Her overwhelming performance in first-quarter fundraising should awaken them to the fact that this outsider is a budding star, whose conservative social and political convictions are rock-solid.

Elections

Wisconsin Shows Why Mailing Everyone a Ballot is a Bad Idea

While there are no easy solutions to the challenges of voting during a pandemic, an all-mail program would jeopardize the integrity of any election and suppress the conservative vote.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unfold, many leftists are proposing a voting “solution” to ensure they can beat President Trump this fall. Their solution is to mail a ballot to every name on the voter rolls. Wisconsin’s spring election and presidential primary should serve as a warning for states and the federal government to avoid universal mail elections.

In the Wisconsin election on April 7, a record number of registered voters requested absentee ballots, but even the process of mailing ballots to voters proved too much for the government to handle. The nation should learn the lessons from Wisconsin and oppose all-mail ballot elections this fall.

Mailing a ballot to every name on the voter rolls is straight out of the left-wing playbook to rig the election in their favor. On cue, the Democratic National Committee and many leftists pushed voting changes to help only their candidates. A closer look at how the process played out in Wisconsin is helpful to understand the Left’s political calculation.

For weeks, Wisconsin’s Democratic governor, Tony Evers, insisted on not moving the Wisconsin April 7 election, which included many local races as well as the presidential primary. Behind Evers’ insistence on keeping the date the same were marching orders from the DNC.

On March 17, DNC Chairman Tom Perez begged states to not postpone their primary elections and then on March 22, Perez repeated that instruction saying, “[s]tates can provide easy access to voting while still taking necessary precautions to protect the health and safety of the American people.”

Was this a plan to keep the voters safe? No—it was the DNC’s attempt to ensure Joe Biden received enough committed delegates so they wouldn’t have to postpone the DNC Convention.

As soon as the DNC decided on April 2 to postpone the convention, Evers immediately flip-flopped and called to postpone Wisconsin’s April 7 election and mail a ballot to every registered name. His suggestion was dead on arrival in the state legislature, but that didn’t stop him.

In the final days leading up to April 7, Evers and a federal judge created more chaos for the election by trying to change the election date unilaterally. The Wisconsin Supreme Court and U.S. Supreme Court rejected these changes on the eve of the election. Evers also proposed abolishing voter ID and witness requirements, measures to ensure election integrity.

The common denominator in all of Evers’ proposals was that they were intended to help turnout for the Left. Conservatives are traditional by nature and prefer to vote in person on Election Day. The fact that Evers issued a “safer at home” order and still planned on having an election suppressed the conservative vote.

A record number of Wisconsin voters requested absentee ballots for the April 7 election, yet the U.S. Postal Service failed to deliver the ballots. Personally, I have several friends and family who requested absentee ballots that never showed up in their mailboxes. If the government can’t even manage to get ballots to those who request them, how can we count on them to mail ballots to every voter who is registered?

There invariably will be problems like these from Wisconsin: “three large tubs of missing absentee ballots found in mail processing center,” hundreds of ballots returned to the clerk as undeliverable, and questions about ballot postmark dates.

Another big problem with universal mailing of ballots is that the voter rolls in many states are filled with outdated addresses, and inactive or dead voters, which can lead to voter fraud. Voters do not have confidence that the rolls are accurate.

Wisconsin made national headlines over roughly 209,000 voter registrations, which were ordered to be purged from the rolls according to state law. A local judge had ruled in late 2019 that those Wisconsin registrants who did not answer a mailed notice from the election commission in October 2019 should be removed from the list. The local judge’s order was put on hold by an appeals court and is stuck in ongoing litigation.

So those 209,000 names would have been mailed ballots for the April 7 election, contrary to state law.

Drastic changes to the voting process would lead to even more chaos. The Left thrives on using Saul Alinsky-style chaos to bring about policies that work to their political advantage. They tried it in Wisconsin, but courts rejected their last-minute changes. While there are no easy solutions to the challenges of voting during a pandemic, an all-mail program would jeopardize the integrity of any election and suppress the conservative vote.

The rush to a completely new system would create more problems than it is addressing. The nation should learn from Wisconsin and reject the idea of mailing every registered voter an absentee ballot.