We quickly discovered that there were some problems with their report. Joe Cobb, running as a write-in candidate for the Libertarian nomination for Congress, C.D. 7 was reported to have received only a single write-in vote in all 38 polling precincts in Maricopa county, which, combined with the 9 write-in votes he received from Pima County, placed Joe just 2 votes shy of the 12 votes he needed to be placed on the general election ballot in November.
Only, Joe Cobb KNEW that he and 2 others at his household (in Maricopa County) had voted for him -- so Maricopa County failed to tally at least 2 more votes for Joe.
When this was brought to the attention of Maricopa County Elections (in the person of Kristi Passarelli as well as Karen Osborne) on Monday, at first they suggested that Joe or the other members of his household had failed to complete the ballot properly, but just to appease us, they'd take a quick look. Sure enough, at the end of the business day, we were notified that Maricopa County Elections had "discovered" 3 more write-in votes in Joe Cobb's home precinct. Apparently, the ballots with write-in votes are segregated for hand-tally at the polling place, and these ballots either were not properly segregated at the polling place, or were somehow later mixed in with non-write-in ballots from the precinct at County Elections central tally location.
We're told that, after some internal debate within County Elections and the County Attorney's Office as to whether Maricopa County should revise the vote count total to reflect that Joe Cobb in fact received sufficient votes to be placed on the ballot, they revised the numbers amended the canvas.
The bottom line is that Maricopa County undercounted the vote for Joe Cobb by a whopping 75% (and possibly more, as there are another 36 polling places where no write-in ballots were counted for Joe Cobb).
We informed the County Elections and the County Attorney's office (Colleen Connors) that we suspected similar failures in the 3 other races where our candidates missed the cut-off by 1 or 2 write-in votes: Dan Poland running for the Libertarian nomination for State Senator in district 10 (in 59 polling precincts, reported to have received 5 votes, needed 7), John Williams running for the Libertarian nomination for State Senator in district 15 (in 59 polling precincts, reported to have received 5 votes, needed 7), and Michael Kielsky running for the Libertarian nomination for Justice of the Peace in West Mesa (in 23 polling precincts, reported to have received 4 votes, needed 5).
Interestingly enough, Dan Poland also ran as a write-in candidate for Libertarian precinct committeeman in his home precinct, and while he reports that he distinctly remembers writing his own name in for the office of precinct committeeman and for State Senator, Maricopa County Elections reports that he received 0 votes for precinct committeeman. This looks EXACTLY like the failure to accurately count ALL write-in ballots discovered in Joe Cobb's race in C.D. 7.
Today, we were informed by Maricopa County that, while they would do some additional checking as a "courtesy", once the General Election ballots are sent off to be printed (which will happen today or tomorrow), it will be too late to do anything for these three candidates, even should we discover another 1 or 2 missed write-in votes for each. Sure, they may have gotten enough votes, and, sure, Maricopa County Elections is responsible for accurately tallying the number of votes cast, but, they claim, it's just human error, as if that excuses it.
More proof that the idea that "every vote counts" is just another election myth!
-- Michael Kielsky
Chairman, Arizona Libertarian Party