Another day, another lawsuit

Cochise County gains a new lawsuit

A watchdog group, American Oversight has filed a lawsuit to compel Cochise County supervisors, County Recorder Stevens to turn over documents through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Read the details here.

Cochise County cannot count ballots by hand!

End of Cochise County election nonsense?

From the Democracy Docket: "WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Wednesday, Oct. 18, an Arizona appellate court affirmed a lower court ruling that determined that Cochise County, Arizona could not conduct a hand count audit of all early ballots for the 2022 midterm elections. As Cochise County has indicated it would conduct future hand count audits, this ruling bars those as well. "
Read the entire article at


AZ Secretary of State submits Elections Procedural Manual for approval

Per AZ SOS Adrian Fontes press release

Saturday, September 30, 2023
PHOENIX - In a major step to prepare local and county officials ahead of the 2024 elections, Secretary of State Adrian Fontes announced the submission today of an updated Elections Procedures Manual to Governor Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Kris Mayes for their review and approval.
Secretary Fontes said: “The Arizona Elections Procedures Manual is one of the most important documents to ensure consistent and efficient election administration across our state. Reflecting its importance to safe, secure, and accurate elections in Arizona, my office made updating the Manual a top priority—holding a series of monthly meetings with local and county elected officials to suggest changes and garner feedback.”
Read the entire press release and a link to the submitted manual on the AZ SOS website.

Cochise County Elections Director says “this is a toxic environment”

From September 30, 2023

Second Cochise County Elections Director to resign post in 2023 offers grim assessment as we enter 2024 election season: "this is a toxic environment."

Bob Bartelsmeyer speaks with CRN concerning threats, and the malignant atmosphere of conspiracy theories and elections denialism spurred by county supervisors, others...

Friday, September 29, 2023, was Bob Bartelsmeyer's last day serving as elections director of Cochise County. His first day on the job was May 30. That's four months. Bartelsmeyer's predecessor, Lisa Marra, tendered her resignation in late January. Now, as Cochise County lurches into the 2024 election season with no elections director at the wheel, Bartelsmeyer offers grim parting words:
"This is a toxic environment. I have to think about my health and stress."

Read the entire interview and article here.

Most Arizona voters will have new elections officials in 2024

98% of Arizonans will have new elections officials in 2024, report finds

by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy, Arizona Mirror
September 26, 2023
Arizona has lost nearly all of its experienced election officials and 98% of the state will have new officials running elections in 2024 than ran the 2020 elections, a new report found.
The Grand Canyon State has been center stage for election misinformation since 2020, with efforts such as the Arizona Senate Republicans’ “audit” of the 2020 presidential election and Kari Lake’s continuing efforts to overturn her 2022 loss in the race for governor.
The state has also seen threats of violence towards election officials and those who help administer elections. Five recent cases from the U.S. Department of Justice were all from Arizona that included individuals who called for election officials to be killed and in some areas, such as in Yavapai County, one official ended up needing security from the local sheriff at their home.
The report by Issue One, a nonpartisan political reform nonprofit, shows that 12 of Arizona’s 15 counties will have new election officials this cycle, many of whom are less experienced than their predecessors. An estimated 98% of Arizona’s expected 2024 voters live in those counties.
Arizona has seen a drain of 176 collective years of experience since November 2020. Additionally, the median amount of experience for officials in the 12 impacted counties has dropped from about 10 years to about 1.
Collectively, the western states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana have seen over 1,800 years of experience leave.
“These turnover rates signify a crisis in our democracy,” Issue One Founder and CEO Nick Penniman wrote in the report, calling on lawmakers in Washington, D.C., to deliver regular funding to election officials and address the rising number of threats.
Issue One found that, in the 11 states it researched, roughly 40% of the chief local election officials are new; in Arizona, that turnover rate exceeds 50%. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual turnover rate among people who hold state or local government jobs is generally around 20%.
Since November 2020, 55% of the chief local election officials in Arizona are new. In four out of the six biggest counties in Arizona, both the elections director and county recorder are new since November 2020, according to the report.
Some counties in the state still have critical vacancies since the exodus of officials began.
The Republican National Committee sued Maricopa County over the issue of the election workforce that had to fill 220 poll worker positions a week before the 2022 election and estimated that more than 500 temporary election workers quit leading up to the election. Many officials in Maricopa County received threats of violence, many citing long debunked conspiracy theories as rationale for the violence they invoke.
“The loss of these local officials means that the counties that run our elections will have to do more with less,” Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes said in the Issue One report. Fontes has previously called on the legislature to increase funding to to help add employees for training and certifying election workers.
“In order to curb this exodus, lawmakers and policymakers in Washington, D.C., and across the country must step up to show election officials that they have their backs in the face of threats and harassment,” the report says. “They can do this by strengthening protections and fully funding our critical elections infrastructure to ensure that all voters can safely and securely make their voices heard in our elections.”
The Arizona legislature did pass a measure this previous session that would allow public officials to add their addresses to the list of prohibited records. The bill passed nearly unanimously with members of the far-right Arizona Freedom Caucus voting in opposition.
Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Arizona Mirror maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Jim Small for questions: Follow Arizona Mirror on Facebook and Twitter.

Secretary of State Adrian Fontes pushes voter registration, addresses push to ditch partisan ballots

Something to think about!

AZ Secretary of State, Adrian Fontes did what a good SOS does, advocated for people to get registered to vote.  Read the entire article because now there is a push to get rid of the partisan nomination ballot and have everybody run on a single ballot.
From the Cronkite News article by Kiersten Edgett/Cronkite News: "The events came after a recently launched campaign to amend the state constitution and rework Arizona’s primary elections structure.  The proposed initiative, known as the Make Elections Fair Act, seeks to change Arizona primary elections to one single ballot with all running candidates, rather than partisan ballots given based on voters’ political affiliations."
Read the entire article here.
Commentary by Bob Karp
There needs to be some serious discussion of this nonpartisan nomination ballot.  Seems like a terrible idea of the minority party in the state which is the Democratic Party. We already have enough problems at the national level with minority rule (the filibuster in the Senate and the Electoral College) to introduce the same problems at the state level in Arizona makes me concerned.  Stay tuned!

Cochise Elections Director resigns after less than four months

Commentary by Bob Karp

From Arizona Public Media ( by Summer Hom:
"The Cochise County Elections Director has resigned, again.
If it seems like déjà vu, and that’s because it is - the second time this year that a County Elections Director has resighted
Cochise County Recorder David Stevens and Cochise County Supervisor Tom Crosby confirmed to AZPM Monday that Cochise County Elections Director Bob Bartelsmeyer handed in his resignation last Friday. Supervisor Ann English and Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre also confirmed.  English said in an email that Bartelsmeyer handed in his two-week notice on Friday. That puts Bartelsmeyer's last day on the job as September 29."

Commentary by Bob Karp

Have we, the residents of Cochise County, had enough yet?  Now the county Elections Director, Bob Barelsmeyer, forced upon the voting public by County Recorder David Stevens, and Supervisor Tom Crosby (with the vote and help of Supervisor Peggy Judd), has resigned and returned to his PREVIOUS position in La Paz county.

Let's remember that as part of his employment agreement, he was given a relocation allowance.

A number of questions about how Cochise County is governed come immediately to mind:

  1. Does the Board of Supervisors plan to claw back the reimbursed expenses?
  2. How did the hiring process go off the rails and who is to blame for it?
  3. Will the BoS and the County Administrator now step in to make sure that future hiring practices and employment contracts are fair to both the employee and to the county?
  4. Why would La Paz county take this guy back?
  5. Was there private meetings and agreements in La Paz about this that violate Arizona Open Meeting Laws?
  6. How are the two November 2023 special elections going to conducted when the two remaining Elections Department employees have not been with the department for a previous election?
It is time to demand answers from the people that govern and run Cochise County.


Arizona Republican voter suppression laws get blocked

'Discriminatory intent': Judge smacks down Arizona laws that seek to ban certain voters

From raw story:  "A federal judge has blocked two Arizona laws that sought to impose new voting restrictions – and has cleared the way for civil rights groups to examine the reasons Republican legislators tried to push them through, according to a report."
Read the entire story at