OPINION: This article contains commentary which may reflect the author's opinion
Attorney General Mark Brnovich, a Republican, is asking Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre a Republican to launch a criminal probe into whether Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat member of Black Lives Matter, is breaking the law with her actions.
The aggressive move late Tuesday comes after rebellious Hobbs ignored prior warnings from Brnovich that it would be illegal for her to shut down part of the E-Qual system where candidates can gather signatures online for their nominating petitions.
Hobbs said it was necessary to update some data due to redistricting and, effective March 17, disabled the section for legislative and congressional candidates even though they have until April 4 to gather the signatures they need, frustrating candidates and causing chaos.
After giving Hobbs much leeway, Brnovich wants to get tuff, and he told McIntyre in Tuesday’s letter that he gets to operate “independently of the attorney general’s office in determining what actions are appropriate to resolve this matter.”
So now that Brnovich is making a move to stop Hobbs, the question is- did he implement the law and ask for this investigation in enough time to follow the laws about elections?
A shell game is what it looks like to many people in the United States who are following the massive amount of scandalous activity in the state of AZ- over control of ballots and elections.
Here is what is going on: Brnovich warned Hobbs, recently, that she was facing arrest for shutting down a state petition site for congressional candidates, informing her that she is facing arrest for breaking Arizona law.
Then Hobbs ran to a judge to get an injunction against Brnovich, but the judge told Hobbs that she was not above the law, which must have been somewhat surprising to Hobbs after a full year of flaunting her state’s reckless 2020 election results.
According to local AZ media about the timeline and it looked like this:
“Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joan Sinclair said the request is “premature” in a ruling issued Wednesday.
A spokeswoman for Hobbs, Murphy Hebert, said she will continue with plans to shut down on March 11 the “E-Qual” system that candidates use to collect signatures they need to appear on the ballot. A shutdown is required because the statewide system is unusable once any one of the state’s 15 counties starts loading the new district maps from the every-10-years redistricting process.”
Candidates must collect a certain number of signatures from voters in order to make the ballot, and most are collected using the online system.
Brnovich posted in late Feb.about the ruling:
“We are pleased with today’s ruling because Arizona’s laws are not merely suggestions. Now more than ever, we need our election officials to avoid playing political games. Everyone deserves to have confidence in our electoral process”.
We are pleased with today’s ruling because Arizona’s laws are not merely suggestions. Now more than ever, we need our election officials to avoid playing political games. Everyone deserves to have confidence in our electoral process. https://t.co/B0LhtmveCk
— Mark Brnovich (@GeneralBrnovich) February 25, 2022
Hobbs filed suit after Attorney General Mark Brnovich had one of his assistant attorneys general send Hobbs a letter implying she could face criminal prosecution if the “E-Qual” system is taken offline.
Secretary of State's Office responds to today's ruling on a request for a preliminary injunction. pic.twitter.com/P873oM7MBU
— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) February 25, 2022
Roopali Desai, a lawyer for Hobbs, said the secretary is stuck between two competing laws — one requiring her to maintain an online signature system and another mandating that signatures only be accepted from voters who qualify because they live in the candidate’s district.
So, even after the court ruling, Hobbs remained defiant. Brnovich then delegated the investigation and prosecution to Cochise County prosecutor Brian McIntyre. It will be up to him whether the charge Hobbs with a class 6 felony or a class 3 misdemeanor.
So the question political watchers are asking is why Brnovich waited so long to move because the system will close on April 4th, meaning that all of the congressional candidates had to hire people to gather the signatures for them.
Arizona law states:
the secretary of state shall provide a system for qualified electors to sign a nomination petition … for [candidates for statewide and legislative offices] by way of a secure internet portal.
a public officer upon whom a duty is imposed by Title 16, who knowingly fails or refuses to perform that duty in the manner prescribed by law or knowingly acts in violation of any provision of such law, is guilty of either a class 6 felony or class 3 misdemeanor. A.R.S. §§ 16-1009, -1010.
The Attorney General is required to enforce the provisions of Title 16 through civil and criminal actions in any election for members of the legislature. A.R.S. § 16-1021.
“The attorney general’s continued attacks on election officials across the state for doing out jobs is ridiculous,” she said.