Liberals in Arizona cling to what good news they can find. In this election, the pickings have been slim but significant. The worst news is that the notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio apparently won a fourth term from Maricopa County voters, who largely appear to be out of their minds over ‘border security’ (aka racist) issues. Second worst is the fact that a record number of voters in the county, largely Latino citizens, were forced to cast provisional ballots at the polls. Combined with an equally large number of early mail-in ballots, the final results of many of the state’s elections have been postponed for days while the total of 400,000 such votes is counted.
Out of this bad news, however, comes the good. The fact that so many votes are in question comes from the get-out-the-vote efforts of civil rights groups such as Citizens for a Better Arizona, Adios Arpaio, and Promise Arizona. These organizations registered an unprecedented number of new Latino voters and signed them up for the ballot-by-mail. Having never been through the process before, many of these new voters weren’t aware that they had to use the ballots they received in the mail, so they showed up at the polls instead. That triggered a situation where provisional ballots had to be cast in order to make sure that the mail-in ballot was not also used. Their votes will presumably be counted, under the watchful eye of the rights groups, but this is a population that will be more savvy with the next election and will be in an even better position to make their voices heard.
While many of the state’s final tallies are being held up by the delayed count, some other significant news seems apparent. Republicans have held a super-majority in the state legislature that allowed them to ram through such odious bills as SB 1070, the anti-immigration bill that gave law enforcement permission to bulldoze over human rights. That hold has been broken as Democrats appear to have gained four new seats in the House and four in the Senate, giving them much more leverage over future legislation.
As for Arizona’s piece of the national picture, if current trends hold through the final count, the state’s delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives will consist of five Republicans and four Democrats. Phoenix’s daily newspaper, The Arizona Republic, has declared that the state is turning purple. While a slow dye job, the signs are there that the steady flow of ‘stupid’ coming from the state has at least been stanched.