Supreme Court upholds Arizona voting rules, including ballot harvesting ban

The U.S. Supreme Court on July 1 upheld two Republican-supported Arizona voting laws the legislators say are intended to ensure election integrity.

The decision, delivered by a 6-3 court split on ideological lines, found that neither law violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and that they were not enacted with racially discriminatory intent. Justice Samuel Alito wrote the court’s majority opinion. Justice Elena Kagan led the leftists on the court in dissent.

People with identification are not scarce

The Arizona Republican Party and the Democratic National Committee have been feuding over the laws since before the 2016 presidential election. The case received renewed attention in the aftermath of the 2020 election after many Americans said that coronavirus-era voting provisions, some later found to have been enacted illegally, had unfairly tilted the election to the Democrats.

The laws, approved long before the 2020 election, require that a ballot be thrown out if it was cast in a precinct other than the one matching the voter’s home address. The laws also ban “ballot harvesting,” in which third-party carriers such as unions and activist groups collect absentee ballots and deliver them for counting. Passed in 2016, Arizona H.B. 2023, makes it a felony for anyone other than a family member, caregiver or postal worker to collect and deliver ballots.

The second Arizona law in question requires ballots to be cast in the assigned precinct where a voter lives. If a voter casts a provisional ballot at the wrong polling place, election officials will reject it.

According to the Washington Examiner, “Democrats claimed that the laws are racist because they could disproportionately affect black, Latino, and Native American populations. The DNC, in its brief, called Arizona’s out-of-precinct policy one of the ‘most punishing in the nation’ and accused it of effectively disenfranchising more than 38,000 voters since 2008. It also alleged that the ballot harvesting ban took voting rights away from minorities who rely on third-party carriers to vote.”

In a 2005 bipartisan report, former President Jimmy Carter, a Democrat, and former Secretary of State James Baker, a Republican, recommended prohibiting ballot collection. Critics of ballot harvesting can also point to a race in Patterson, New Jersey last year in which candidates were indicted on fraud charges after they mishandled collected ballots.  They were indicted on charges of election fraud, fraud in casting mail-in votes, unauthorized possession of ballots, tampering with public records and falsifying records. Patterson City Councilman Alex Mendez also was indicted for alleged false voter registration.

The Supreme Court’s decision overturns the San Francisco-based U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which found that Arizona’s regulations had a disproportionate impact on Native American, Latino and Black voters and that it was enacted in a broader context of voter discrimination.

Posted July 1, 2021

Did Maricopa County Officials Just Accidentally Admit Voting Machines Can Be Compromised?

Officials in Maricopa County announced they will replace the voting machines that were subpoenaed during the forensic audit of the 2020 election, alleging concerns about “security and integrity,” PJ Media reported June 30.

“The voters of Maricopa County can rest assured, the County will never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections. The County recognizes (Arizona) Secretary (of State Katie) Hobbs’ authority under A.R.S. § 16-442 to certify equipment for use in Arizona’s elections. As a result, the County will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections,” the county said in a statement on Monday.

Sen. Schumer meme - If Americans won't vote for Dems...

“The voters of Maricopa County can rest assured, the County will never use equipment that could pose a risk to free and fair elections. The County recognizes (Arizona) Secretary (of State) Hobbs’ authority under A.R.S. § 16-442 to certify equipment for use in Arizona’s elections. As a result, the County will not use the subpoenaed equipment in any future elections,” the county said in a statement on Monday.

County officials, who have always opposed the audit, have long alleged, without any evidence, that subpoenaed machines could be compromised by the auditors and, in fact, acquired new machines for local elections held this year. The county also reportedly refused to provide subpoenaed routers.

In May, it was reported that “significant discrepancies” had been uncovered during the audit, though a full report on the findings isn’t expected until late July or August.

Other states have sent delegations to Maricopa County as they consider conducting their own forensic audits. An audit is currently underway in Fulton County, Georgia, and it is expected that a forensic audit could be coming to Pennsylvania. Arizona, Georgia, and Pennsylvania are all battleground states where multiple allegations of election irregularities and fraud were made.

But claims that machines can be hacked were deemed “false” by fact-checkers in the wake of the Trump campaign’s allegations. For example, USA Today‘s fact check in January about Dominion voting machines (which were used in Maricopa County) concluded that “assertions that machines can be hacked, votes were dumped and test ballots can be counted are false.”

PJMedia asks: But wait? If they can’t be hacked, why would Maricopa County officials claim that they have to replace their machines after the audit?

Were the fact checks false? Instead of proving that voting machines were not hackable—something we were simply supposed to believe without any forensic examination—did they just admit the opposite is true? They are basically saying, “Trust the liberal county officials not to hack the machines, but don’t trust the Republican-hired auditors not to hack them.”

Of course, we’ve known for a while that voting machines could be hacked. In 2019, Democrats warned about voting machines “switching votes.” Joe Biden even said he was concerned about manipulated voting machines before the election, and perhaps most revealing of all, a computer scientist literally demonstrated how easy it is to hack voting machines.

So, have Maricopa County officials simply proven what we already know: that voting machines can be hacked? It all comes down to trusting those with custody of the machines not to hack them. They essentially just proved why the audit was absolutely necessary.

If voting machines were truly unhackable, as fact-checkers have claimed, Maricopa County officials wouldn’t have to grandstand with baseless claims that the auditors might have compromised the machines. Quite frankly, I trust the auditors more than I trust Maricopa County officials—who have always acted like they’ve had something to hide.

Posted June 30, 2021; source: Matt Margolis for PJMedia.com

Arizona GOP Lawmakers Strip Powers from Controversial Secretary of State Katie Hobbs

The Republican-controlled state Legislature in Arizona voted June 29 to revoke the Democratic secretary of state’s legal authority in election-related lawsuits, handing that power instead to Republican attorney general Mark Brnovich until Jan. 2, 2023.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (D) 300x180 Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs (at left) has denounced the independent 2020 election audit in Arizona,  spearheaded by the state’s Republican senate, which is questioning voter fraud and irregularities surrounding Maricopa County’s ballot tally. The audit applied to 2.1 million ballots in the county’s jurisdiction, where Joe Biden allegedly defeated former President Trump by around 10,000 votes, and contracted the services of the small cybersecurity company and first-time election auditor Cyber Ninjas to conduct it.

The measure, sent to Gov. Doug Ducey, was part of a series of proposals inserted into major budget legislation, including several actions that address election integrity. Included is an appropriation of $500,000 for a study of whether social media sites interfered in state elections by promoting Democrats while suppressing Republicans.

Katie Hobbs has since set her sights on grander things, and on June 2 declared her candidacy for governor.

Posted June 30, 2021

Agents Thwart Human Smuggling Attempt, Apprehend Driver with Drugs and Illegal Firearm

Blythe, Calif. – Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents assigned to the Blythe station thwarted a human smuggling attempt at the Highway 78 immigration checkpoint on June 23, and discovered the driver of the vehicle was in possession of dangerous drugs and an illegal firearm.

Agents inspecting a BMW sedan at the checkpoint located northwest of Yuma near Palo Verde, Calif., discovered that two females sitting in the back seat were Mexican nationals illegally present in the United States.

The driver of the vehicle, a 29-year-old U.S. citizen from Anaheim, California, was directed to pull into the checkpoint’s secondary inspection area for further investigation. During the secondary inspection, a canine alerted agents to drugs in the vehicle.

Agents discovered 0.72 grams of heroin, four grams of methamphetamine, over three grams of marijuana, 10 pieces of drug paraphernalia, and a cache of potentially fake and stolen credit cards, driver’s licenses, and other forms of identification, as well as a printer machine that may have been used to make fraudulent documents. In addition, agents found a loaded firearm that was unidentifiable due to the make and model number being shaved off.

The Border Patrol conducted record checks on the driver and the front passenger, who was also a U.S. citizen, and found they had multiple felony convictions for burglary and receiving stolen property, DUI/hit and run and possession of dangerous drugs, respectively.

The driver of the vehicle was turned over to local law enforcement and the two Mexican nationals were processed and returned to Mexico under the Title 42 directive. The front passenger, a 52-year-old male from Riverside, Calif., was processed for his involvement in the alien smuggling case.

As of press June 26, Customs and Border Patrol Press Officer Robert Daniels had not provided the names of the individuals detained, nor whether any of them were named Hunter Biden.

Posted June 26, 2021

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich Tells the Feds to Back Off the State’s Audit of the 2020 Election

In a June 14 letter Monday, Brnovich called U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s comments last week expressing concern about post-election audits “troubling.”

“Your statements displayed an alarming disdain for state sovereignty,” Brnovich wrote. “My office is not amused by the DOJ’s posturing and will not tolerate any effort to undermine or interfere with our State Senate’s audit to reassure Arizonans of the accuracy of our elections.”

The audit of the vote in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous county, ordered by state Senate Republicans, began in April.

“Arizona will not sit back and let the Biden administration abuse its authority, refuse to uphold laws, or attempt to commandeer our state’s sovereignty,” Brnovich wrote.

Former President Donald Trump has praised the audit and urged other states to launch their own election reviews. (NOTE: The Washington Times, a never-Trumper news source some consider “conservative,” claimed that Trump “continues to make baseless claims that Democrats stole the election from him through widespread voter fraud.”)

Arizona State Troopers Seize More Than $6 Million in Illegal Drugs in Two Traffic Stops (That Somehow Made It Across the Border)

2021-05-15 Arizona State Troopers Seize $6 Million in Illegal Drugs 800x600

Arizona State Troopers seized more than $6 million in illegal drugs on May 15 and 18.

An Arizona Department of Public Safety (AZDPS) Canine District trooper stopped the driver of a tractor-trailer on Interstate 10 westbound at milepost 237, near Marana, for multiple violations on Saturday night, May 15.

Inside the truck cab, troopers discovered 44.9 pounds of heroin, 40 pounds of fentanyl pills and 21.4 pounds of methamphetamine stowed in backpacks and duffel bags, which had somehow escaped notice while passing through a border checkpoint in Southern Arizona. AZDPS said the estimated street value of these drugs is more than $2.5 million.

The driver, 52-year-old Jesus E. Sepulveda, of Nogales, Az., was arrested on charges including possession and transportation of narcotic drugs for sale and possession of dangerous drugs for sale.

Three days later, on Tuesday, May 18th, the same trooper stopped the driver of a passenger car heading eastbound on Interstate 10 eastbound at milepost 48, in the Salome area, for a traffic violation. Searching the vehicle, troopers found 74 pounds of fentanyl pills with an estimated street value of $3.7 million, which had also somehow made it through the southern border.

The driver, 21-year-old Andrew Reyna of Los Angeles, was booked into La Paz County Jail on charges of possession and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale.

2021-05-28 Jesus Sepulveda arrested for transporting millions in illegal drugs

Jesus E. Sepulveda, 52, of Nogales, Az., was arrested on charges including possession and transportation of narcotic drugs for sale.

2021-05-15 Driver Reyna Andrew arrested for transporting illegal drugs

Andrew Reyna, 21, of Los Angeles, was booked into La Paz County Jail on charges of possession and transportation of a narcotic drug for sale.

“Arizona’s Border Strike Force continues to seize significant amounts of illegal narcotics coming across the southern border,” said Gov. Doug Ducey. “Keeping these dangerous and deadly drugs out of America’s schools and neighborhoods is a heroic effort. I’m grateful to this State Trooper and all who serve the people of Arizona fighting the flow of drug smuggling and human trafficking across the border.”

The goal of the Arizona Border Strike Force (BSF) is to deter, disrupt and dismantle transnational criminal organizations that breach the border in their quest to conduct criminal activity in our state.

The BSF operations focus on statewide roving criminal interdiction patrol details, intelligence-led remote area operations, outbound details, and deterrent saturation patrols. Specific units within the Border Strike Force Bureau include the Canine District, the Southern Investigations District, and the Vehicle Theft District.

Posted May 28, 2021

Canine Detects Meth Hidden in Vehicle Headrest

YUMA, Ariz. – A Yuma Sector canine alerted Border Patrol agents to a suspicious-smelling vehicle in which one pound of methamphetamine was found hidden in a seat headrest.

2021-05-13 fentanyl sniffed out by K9 Brit

At approximately 10:30 a.m. on May 28, Blythe Border Patrol agents encountered a Nissan Pathfinder as it traveled through the California immigration checkpoint on Highway 78. Agents referred the vehicle to the checkpoint’s secondary inspection area after a canine “alerted” agents something was problematic with the vehicle.

During a search of the vehicle, agents discovered that one of the seat’s headrests had a plastic bag hidden inside that contained one pound of methamphetamine, worth approximately $1,800-$5,000.

Record checks conducted on the Nissan’s three occupants, all U.S. citizens from Blythe, Calif., revealed the driver, a 34-year-old male, had an outstanding warrant in El Centro, California, for a previous drug smuggling attempt five months earlier through the same checkpoint. Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) said the unnamed man was turned over to local law enforcement for the warrant and will be charged for drug possession and/or transportation for sale.

The other two passengers in the vehicle, a 26-year-old male and 31-year-old female, also had extensive criminal history with charges related to drug possession and sales. One of them was cited in this incident and both were subsequently released. (Editor’s Note: Yes, the CBP says they were “released.”)

Posted May 28, 2021

Border Patrol Agents Arrest a Gang Member and Two Child Sexual Predators

EDINBURG, Texas – Rio Grande Valley Sector Border Patrol agents arrested a female 18th Street gang member, and two other illegal aliens previously convicted of sexual crimes involving children.

McAllen Border Patrol Station (MCS) agents working near Hidalgo, Texas, on May 26 arrested several aliens who had illegally entering the United States. One of those arrested was a Salvadoran adult female who admitted during processing that she was a member of the 18th Street gang.  [Related story, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell]

caution border crossers Rio Grande City Border Patrol Station agents apprehended a group of 10 illegals in Roma, Texas on May 27.  During processing, agents discovered one illegal alien, identified as Edwin Francisco Mejia-Iglesias, a national of El Salvador, who previously had been arrested in 2018 by the Tomball, Texas, Police Department for online solicitation of a minor for sexual conduct.  He was convicted and sentenced to six years probation.

Also on May 27, MCS agents apprehended another group of 10 “migrants” near Havana, Texas.  After the subjects were taken into custody and transported to the station, agents discovered one of the detainees, a Mexican national, previously had been arrested by police in Phoenix, Arizona in 2016 for sexual conduct with a minor. He was convicted and sentenced to five years incarceration. The Border Patrol did not release his name.

Editor’s Note: The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol no longer refers to people entering the U.S. illegally as illegal immigrants. They are now called “migrants” or “non-citizens.”

Biden Campaign’s Jewish Engagement Director Tells Jews to Hide Their Judaism

Aaron Keyak, Jewish Engagement Director at Biden for President, said Friday, “take off your kippah (head covering) and hide your magen david (star of David)” if you fear for your life as a Jew.

Keyak’s comments follow a major increase in anti-Semitic incidents:

Aaron Keyak is President Biden’s “Jewish Engagement Director”

Breitbart News reports that Jewish and non-Jewish Twitter users criticized Keyak’s recommendation to hide Jewish identity. One woman replied to Keyak, “I wore my Magen David today. It’s a little on the small side. I need a bigger one. And I do fear for my safety in the ‘current climate.’”

One man asked Keyak, “Should I hide my eyes to avoid being targeted for being Asian?”

Comparing Keyak’s statement to victim-blaming, another Twitter user said, “She was wearing an awfully short skirt….”

Breitbart News’ Joel Pollak encouraged self-defense over fear:

Joel Pollak is Breitbart News’ Senior Editor At-Large

Despite receiving backlash from his statement, Keyak doubled down on his position, saying, “It’s important that those who wear kippot (head coverings) don’t feel more pressure to put our lives in unnecessary actual danger.”

In September 2020, Keyak blamed former President Donald Trump for antisemitism in the United States, saying, “We know that Donald Trump’s use of antisemitic tropes has emboldened all those who hate Jews.”

President Joe Biden took days to condemn the rise in antisemitic attacks, only doing so on Monday.

As reported by Breitbart News, ADL CEO Jonathan Greenblatt said while his organization called out former President Donald Trump at times, “‘none of the people committing’ recent antisemitic attacks ‘were wearing MAGA hats,’ rather, ‘we have people waving Palestinian flags and then beating Jewish people.’”

Antisemitic incidents are on the rise globally. According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “During the two weeks of military conflict between Israel and Hamas in May 2021, antisemitic incidents in the U.S. reported to ADL increased by 63% compared to the two weeks before the fighting began, from 126 to 205, according to preliminary data.”

A Twitter analysis by the ADL revealed more than 17,000 tweets between May 7 and May 14, 2021, contained a variation of the phrase “Hitler was right.”

Recent antisemitic incidents reported by Breitbart News include a group in London yelling, “F*** the Jews,” and “Rape their daughters,” as well as a masked pro-Palestinian mob allegedly attacking Jewish diners in Los Angeles and a pro-Israel walk in Illinois being disrupted by protestors yelling “Kill the Jews.”

Yuma Sector Canine Sniffs Out Fentanyl; Kingman Residents Involved

YUMA, Ariz. – A Yuma Sector canine working at the immigration checkpoint on Highway 78 near Blythe, Calif., on May 13 sniffed out a sandwich bag containing fentanyl pills hidden in a suitcase.

At approximately 8 a.m., Border Patrol agents referred a Toyota Prius to the checkpoint’s secondary inspection area following a canine alert. Agents determined that the four vehicle occupants were U.S. citizens from Kingman, Az. Three of them drove to Calexico, Calif., to pick up the fourth and they were in the process of heading back to Kingman when they drove through the checkpoint.

Border Patrol agents confiscated a sandwich bag containing fentanyl pills.
Border Patrol agents confiscated a sandwich bag containing fentanyl pills.

During a search of the vehicle, agents found a plastic bag containing 77 grams of fentanyl pills, worth approximately $1,800, in a suitcase that belonged to the 32-year-old female who was picked up in Calexico. Border agents arrested the woman and seized the fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine but 50 to 100 times more potent. Only two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal. The female smuggler possessed the equivalent of 77,000 milligrams of fentanyl, the Border Patrol said.

Posted May 17, 2021