One said he felt justified in declaring himself a voter and trying to cast Arizona votes on former President Donald Trump in the 2020 election because of unprecedented questions about how the ballots were cast and counted.
Another said she thought signing the documents that seized the votes of the Arizona Electoral College by Trump was just a security plan.
A third said he was fulfilling his duty as a voter.
But no one would detail exactly how they and Trump’s other official voters came to sign a document that was sent to Congress with a false confession that they constituted Arizona’s official vote in the Electoral College.
This document, and the recent revelations of the congressional committee investigating the January 6 uprising, raise new questions about how the group was organized and how the false document came into being.
Interviews and text messages previously obtained by The Arizona Republic have detailed how White House officials and Trump campaign officials widely pressured Arizona Republican leaders to take further steps to reject the aftermath of the general election. of Joe Biden’s victory.
A Republican report in December documented how Trump’s attorney, Rudy Giuliani, spoke repeatedly with Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and asked him in vain to replace voters in the House of Representatives. state, the people who were required to certify Biden’s victory.
Month:White House phone calls, baseless fraud charges: The origins of Arizona’s election review
But new questions arose this week about whether the efforts of several states, including Arizona, to create fraudulent voter tables were similarly coordinated.
On December 14, 2020, a group of prominent Republicans, including party president Kelli Ward, former MP Anthony Kern and incoming lawmaker Jake Hoffman, signed a document declaring state voters in favor. of Trump.
The 11 people were listed on the general election ballot as potential Trump voters.
But Trump had lost Arizona. Gov. Doug Ducey had certified the election results in late November. Under the statute, the only voters who mattered were those who pledged to vote for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, as they did on December 14, 2020 at noon.
The document signed by the Republicans, obtained in the National Archives last year by the American Oversight group, overlooked this detail.
He described the “undersigned” as the “duly elected and qualified voters for president and vice president of the United States of America in the state of Arizona …”
The vote was sent to Congress, the state Republican Party said at the time. It was accompanied by a letter, signed by 22 Republican state lawmakers, calling for Trump’s list to be accepted as an official vote or, alternatively, for no vote to be accepted until a forensic audit is completed.
An Arizona Republican Party press release on the day of the signing said Trump voters met to “cast their votes and send them to Congress where they will open and count from Jan. 6.” .
In a video posted on the Arizona Republican Party’s YouTube page on December 15, 2020, Ward, the party’s president, told viewers that the “true voters for the presidency” had met the day before. to vote.
“We believe we are the voters of the votes legally cast here in Arizona,” he said.
Other documents listing potential Trump voters were submitted to the federal government by groups from other states at the same time.
A congressional resolution last month denouncing former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows for not cooperating with the committee included texts and emails showing that Meadows encouraged lawmakers in certain states to “send list of alternate voters. in Congress. “
A member of Congress, according to the report, described the plan as “highly controversial”. Meadows responded with a message saying, “I love it,” and later, “Have a computer.”
Month:The House votes to disparage Mark Meadows for challenging the committee’s January 6 summons
On MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” on Wednesday, the host highlighted it part of the congressional report on Meadows.
Congressional investigators have already interviewed Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, and Politico reported this week that the committee was examining how some states had submitted a list of unpunished voters.
False voter responses
One of the signatories of the document proclaiming an alternative voter list was Tyler Bowyer, chief operating officer of Turning Point USA, a group that seeks to boost Trump’s support among younger voters.
Month:Cyber Ninjas found in contempt of court, punished with $ 50,000 in daily fines for not publishing public records
During a brief telephone interview on Thursday, he said he had the right to sign the document.
“I was a voter,” he said. “I want to make sure we’re clear here. I was a Republican Party voter.”
Another Trump voter candidate, Queen Creek Republican Hoffman, said Wednesday that he felt empowered to run for office because of what he considered the singularly unique questions about the 2020 election.
“In unprecedented times, unprecedented actions are taking place,” he said.
Hoffman said the election was being contested by the time voters gathered at the Republican Party headquarters in Arizona. He said there was no jurisprudence or rules on what would happen if the outcome remained in doubt.
“That’s why we thought it appropriate to offer Congress and the Vice President duel options,” Hoffman said.
However, Hoffman did not say how the plan was met or whether voters received advice on how to draft the document. Nor did he say who told him where he had to be on Dec. 14 to cast the alternate voter’s vote.
Video footage of The Republic’s interview with Hoffman, captured by KPNX-TV, Channel 12, aired on cable television news on Wednesday and Thursday.
Similar documents in other states
The documents presented to Congress by five states had similar formats, wording, and fonts.
Two states, New Mexico and Pennsylvania, inserted conditional language on voter position. The New Mexico statement said “it could be determined” that Trump’s voters were the real voters. The Pennsylvania document said Trump voters would only be official after a “final final appeal.”
The Arizona document did not contain such room for maneuver.
Loraine Pellegrino, another Trump voter, said she understood the paperwork was just a security plan when it came to questioning the election.
“That was in case there was a change in the decision here in the state,” Pellegrino said. “Things were up in the air for a while.”
Pellegrino, who has been a state delegate to the last three national Republican conventions, rejected the idea of naming what she and her fellow voters did as creating an alternative voter list. He said they were “voters only,” nothing more.
Pellegrino said voters were simply doing what they had hoped for after Trump’s victory. In his mind, he said, he just changed places. Instead of a ceremony at the state Capitol, it was a quieter affair at the Arizona Republican Party headquarters.
“We signed exactly the documentation we would have signed if we had been at the Capitol,” he said.
Pellegrino said he examined the document closely before signing it. She said she did not understand why there was a question about why she would sign a document confessing her position as an official voter.
“We were Trump voters and we hoped things would change,” he said. “Just in case, we signed our documentation to be ready in case something was taken.”
Other Trump voters who signed the document included:
- Kern, a former state MP who lost his seat in the 2020 election. Kern was seen on the steps of the U.S. Capitol on January 6th. He was also briefly among the volunteers who counted the ballots in the Arizona Senate-ordered review of ballots cast in Maricopa County.
- Jim Lamon, a businessman and current candidate for the United States Senate.
- Ward, president of the Arizona Republican Party.
The other voters who signed were Robert Montgomery, the leader of the Cochise County Republican Party, Nancy Cottle, Sam Moorhead, Greg Safsten and Mike Ward, Kelli Ward’s husband.
On Dec. 14, the day both the real and alternate voter lists met, Stephen Miller, a Trump adviser, told Fox News Network that he knew that the alternate voter lists cast votes in certain states. .
“As we speak, today, an alternative list of voters in the disputed states will vote and we will send those results to Congress,” Miller said.
Miller said the administration would make sure alternative slates were “sent alongside Congress.”
Another group of 11 Republicans, who said they represented the “sovereign citizens of the Greater Arizona State,” also met in December to nominate voters and vote for Trump. He also sent his notarial documents to the National Archive.
But in response to a Republican story about this effort, the Arizona Republican Party denounced this group of alternative voters as fraud. The party posted a picture of its 11 alternate voters on Twitter calling it “the only list of 11 you have to worry about: ignoring the ‘others’.”
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