Apparently Secretary of State Katie Hobbs just found out that Arizona has 15 elected county recorders.
Last Sunday she suddenly “changed her mind” about appealing a decision by a U.S. District Court judge that extended the state’s voter registration deadline from Oct. 5 to Oct. 23.
Initially Ms. Hobbs, as Arizona’s top election official, fought against the extension. Then she decided she would not fight the ruling and instead would strive to implement the extended deadline.
Then Secretary Hobbs realized the elected county officials required to do the work could not accommodate the extended registration deadline without great hardship. Now she is appealing the extension, right in the middle of early balloting.
Those officials include Cochise County Recorder David Stevens, who told a Phoenix radio talk show host last week that the secretary’s office never consulted the majority of the county recorders prior to the initial hearing on the federal lawsuit.
“They went to court supposedly to defend us and the law but no recorders were there,” Stevens said. “There was no one there who does the work to explain to the judge why this was going to be an issue … ”
Ms. Hobbs’ conduct throughout this matter demonstrates an extreme level of arrogance toward elected county recorders. And her flip-flop is prompting concern of voter confusion and election integrity. It is also a clear example of playing politics.
It’s no secret that Ms. Hobbs is expected to be the favored Democratic candidate to run for Arizona governor in 2022. Her initial decision to not appeal the ruling to extend the voter registration deadline is consistent with efforts within the Democratic Party to increase the voter rolls and participation in the Nov. 3 General Election.
Extending the registration deadline drew objections from GOP leaders, further painting Ms. Hobbs as a Democratic populist who seeks to empower voters regardless of state laws or legitimate reasons not to do so.
As Recorder Stevens said in his radio interview, extending the voter registration deadline at the last minute in this way invites election fraud. In fact, there is nothing to stop a voter from registering in one county and casting a ballot, then registering in a second county on the same day and voting a second time.
“We (Arizona’s county recorders) are not prepared to handle that kind of activity, at all,” Stevens said.
Ignoring county recorders, some of whom have only two or three employees, has become standard operating procedure for Secretary Hobbs’ office. She has previously made other election-related changes without consulting the recorders, the attorney general, or the governor to determine the implications of her decisions.
Ms. Hobbs needs to worry less about getting elected governor in 2022 and more about accomplishing the responsibilities of her office today.