Quartzsite’s ‘dead voters’ is an urban legend: County Recorder

La Paz County Recorder Shelly Baker, in a segment on Parker’s KLPZ 1380am radio this morning, said the claim that the records of deceased people were used to commit voter fraud in the recent Quartzsite election is an “urban legend”.

A news story in the Arizona Republic quotes Quartzsite Vice Mayor Barbara Cowell as saying that “something is not right” about the recent election to the Council of candidates who oppose her politically. “We have proof that there were (three) people who were dead who voted,” she said.

Cowell was defending her vote with a majority of the Council to disqualify two of the candidates who won, Ed Foster and Mark Orgeron, in an unprecedented move that is drawing fire from observers across the country. Orgeron won the election for Cowell’s seat on May 15th.

Baker says the idea that dead people voted in the election derives from an incident involving an early ballot that was sent back to the County Recorder’s Office with the word ‘Deceased’ written on it. The ballot was not processed.

“Out of that grew this whole rumor that dead people are voting in Quartzsite. There’s no validity to it at all. And if someone has evidence to the contrary, bring it up. Bring it forward. Let’s not do this in secret, is what I would like to say. Let’s be transparent about the process,” she said.

Baker added that nobody from the Town of Quartzsite had come to her about any specific names they wanted to claim were deceased, but that she had been helping two private investigators from Phoenix who had apparently been hired by the Town, and that no discrepancies had thus far been identified.

Town Manager Alex Taft, speaking at the Special Meeting of the Quartzsite Council on June 4th, said she had identified “approximately 168 voters that we need to look at more thoroughly, for a variety of reasons; out of state license plates, out of state registration, mailing addresses that are out of state, people who have not had their rights restored voting, people that are living in outlining areas and claiming they’re living in town.”

Baker said there have been no such anomalies identified, but “only misunderstandings of people who don’t understand the process.” She went on to explain that having out of state license plates or addresses, or living in the Long-Term Visitor Areas on BLM land does not disqualify someone from voting.

If someone does register to vote in Quartzsite and then fails to register their vehicle with the Arizona MVD, that may be prosecuted under Title 28 motor vehicle law, not Title 16 voter registration law, she said.

“The Chief of Police and the Town Manager Alex Taft both know that, because I’ve had this conversation with them for the past two years. Why they’re refusing to believe it is their problem, but that’s the law. It’s backed up by the Secretary of State, by our attorneys, by everybody.”

Baker added that voter fraud can be prosecuted if someone can be proven to have voted in two places. Many of Quartzsite’s visitors are snowbirds who spend the summer in colder states. Baker said such fraud is actionable.

“If Quartzsite thinks they have fraud going on, bring it forward. Quit hiding.”

The full segment is available to watch below.

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