The video above is surveillance camera footage of a man stuffing hundreds of absentee ballots into the ballot machine at an Arizona (early) voting station.
At the 0:30 mark, he begins inserting the envelopes containing the absentee ballots. More than 7 minutes later, he finally finishes and leaves — that’s how long it took for him to feed those absentee ballots into the machine.
Jon Street reports for The Blaze that on August 25, 2014, during Arizona’s primary election, an Arizona county party official said he saw the man stuffing “hundreds” of ballots into the ballot box.
A. J. LaFaro, chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party, said, “A person wearing a Citizens for a Better Arizona (CBA) T-shirt dropped a large box of hundreds of early ballots on the table and started stuffing the ballot box as I watched in amazement.”
LaFaro provided the Arizona Daily Independent with the following account of what happened:
CBA worker: “What’s your problem?”
LaFaro: “I don’t have a problem.”
CBA worker: “Stop watching me. You’re annoying me.”
LaFaro: “One of your ballots isn’t sealed.”
CBA worker: “It’s none of your business. What’s your name?”
LaFaro: “I’m the chairman of the Maricopa County Republican Party. What’s yours?”
CBA worker:“Go f*** yourself. I don’t have to tell you who I am.”
LaFaro said he later submitted a public information request and obtained the above surveillance video from 12:30-1:30 pm on Aug. 25.
LaFaro said it all happened as he was working with the elections staff during early ballots processing. The team in charge of processing the ballots got “way ahead” so the information systems coordinator convened an extended lunch period from 11:30- 1:00 p.m.
It was between 12:54 and 1:04 that LaFaro said he was seated at one of the cubicles, heard a loud thud and turned around to see the man you see in the video stuffing “hundreds” of ballots. LaFaro described the man as a “vulgar, disrespectful, violent thug” with “no respect for our laws.” LaFaro would have followed the man to his car to get his tag number but did not because he “feared for [his] life.” LaFaro lamented that “America used to be a nation of laws where one person had one vote. I’m sad to say not anymore.”
On its website, Citizens for a Better Arizona says it is an “outgrowth of the grassroots movement that led to the historic recall of former [Republican] President of the [Arizona State] Senate Russell Pearce.” In 2012, CBA led the failed recall attempt on AZ governor Jan Brewer.
CBA describes itself as a non-profit “501 C 4 Social Welfare Organization,” “a predominantly volunteer driven organization of Republicans, Democrats and Independents committed to improving the quality of life of all Arizonans – better schools, better health care, better jobs, better government and a better, more civil tone of respect and decency when it comes to solving Arizona’s problems.”
According to the Center for Responsive Secrets’ website, OpenSecrets.org, CBA had overspent in 2004 and 2006 by tens of thousands of dollars. That leads me to wonder why the organization is still functioning. There is no information on OpenSecrets.org on CBA’s membership or donors.
When asked about the CBA workers ballot-stuffing, Yvonne Reed, spokeswoman for the Maricopa County Elections Department, said the event occurred at an “operations center,” and “there’s no investigation. There’s nothing wrong with that. People can bring in someone else’s ballot if those people are willing to trust that individual. There’s no law against bringing in ballots and placing them in the receptacle for early ballots.”
But a reader of The Blaze, Walter P, observed that “Here in SC, if someone other than the voter delivers the absentee ballot he ballot envelope must be filled out by the voter naming the person turning in the envelope & that person must show ID to be allowed to turn in the envelope.”
Another reader, PJNevada, commented that in his state, “an absentee ballot has to be returned by the voter directly to the registrar of voters, either in person or by mail; not just stuffed en masse into a ballot box at a random polling place.”
In the case of this ballot-stuffing incident in Arizona, even if the Maricopa County Elections Department insists that “there’s no law” against it, a CBA worker stuffing HUNDREDS of absentee ballots has the appearance, if not the actuality, of impropriety, made even more suspicious by the man’s rude “Go fuck yourself” retort to Mr. LaFaro.
Update (Oct. 29, 2014):
My sister-in-law, who lives in California, sent me this email:
I’ve been a clerk at polling stations for many years. Absentee ballots or Vote By Mail ballots are returned in a signed and sealed envelopes by the voters themselves. If another person dropped it off, we have to check the envelope to make sure that it has been signed by the voter and the designated person who dropped it off. Then we put it into the ballot box in their presence. The burden is on those people who verify these envelopes as legal before the ballots are counted.