APRIL 17, 2013

AZ Citizens file suit to stop the recall of Sheriff Joe Arpaio

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PHOENIX – Citizens for the Protection of Fair Election Results (CPFER) has served legal notice of suit on the principals of Respect Arizona, the group that is currently collecting signatures to recall Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

The suit demands that Respect Arizona cease and desist gathering petitions to recall Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was reelected by a comfortable majority in November, despite millions of dollars in attack ads being aired during the campaign.

At the time CPFER began this legal process, Sheriff Arpaio was the only elected official under threat of recall. But CPFER predicted, at its March 21st press conference, that more recalls would inevitably be announced. Not just Republicans, but members of both political parties would soon be targeted, according to the prediction. CPFER warned that if using recalls to change election results became a trend, it could quickly degenerate into a generalized “Electoral Civil War” that would eventually throw Arizona’s electoral system into chaos.

Within less than a month of that warning, CPFER’s predictions were proven correct:  The anti-Arpaio effort was joined by two new recalls targeting members of both political parties-- Arizona House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, a Democrat, and Representative John Kavanagh, a Republican. In neither case has a serious claim of possible malfeasance been presented by the recall petitioners. On the contrary, all three recall targets remain popular elected representatives who won reelection by comfortable margins, last November.

So, what is going on here?  And why is CPFER involving itself?

What is going on is a dangerous trend that seriously threatens the integrity of the Arizona electoral system and the rule of law, itself, for several reasons:

These recalls are attempts to nullify the constitutional right to vote of every citizen who helped elect any of these three candidates, last November.

These recalls are an injustice to all three candidates: Each one was reelected fairly, and with comfortable majorities. But all three may now face the challenges and costs of running all over again.

The groups filing these recalls are misusing the process by trying to overturn a fair election that was won by a candidate whose policies they do not like. 

If these recalls are allowed to go forward, they are going to cost Arizona taxpayers millions of dollars. The Arpaio recall, alone, is billed at $5.5 million. Now two more recalls have been filed.
Together, they could cost as much as $15 million. If this trend continues, costs will rise exponentially, bringing fiscal, as well as electoral chaos to Arizona.

If abusive recalls continue to multiply, no election will ever be truly final. No winning candidate will ever stand on firm ground, knowing that a new recall effort can be started at any time, by any special-interest group.

A threat of a fourth recall has already been reported—this time against our governor, Jan Brewer. With this new threat, the pattern of escalation is plainly visible to anyone in Arizona. When such a pattern becomes this widespread, it’s clear that Arizona’s electoral system is under attack.

If this new political tactic is allowed to flourish in Arizona, it will soon be used in other states. Arizona will become a model for a new way to tear down the civility and fairness that has always been the hallmark of American elections.
Why is Citizens for the Protection of Fair Election Results (CPFER) involved?
CPFER is a grassroots group of ordinary citizens who want fair election results to stand, regardless of party. That is the American way—to ensure the peaceful transition, or retention, of power through free and fair elections.

CPFER was formed, according to co-founder Jim Wise, “expressly to curtail the use of abusive recalls, because to overturn fair election results does violence to Arizona’s electoral system and to all its participants.”

Asked what CPFER plans to do, if the Arpaio recall is defeated, Wise said, “After the Arpaio matter is resolved, we will continue to oppose the recalls against Democrat Chad Campbell and Republican John Kavanagh.”

“The important thing,” Wise said, “is to bring consequences to bear on every frivolous recall effort that is filed. Each one is an attack on the rule of law. If this trend is not stopped, our elections will quickly become free-for-alls in which the biggest bullies win. I ask the citizens of Arizona: What kind of government do you think Arizona will have, then?”

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