Justine Wadsack’s ballot pics give her a ‘glass houses problem’
What in the name of Sidney Powell is Arizona state Sen. Justine Wadsack doing seemingly illegally posting pictures of somebody’s ballot on social media?
Wadsack tweeted/X-ed/Twixed a ballot, purporting it to be hers. It was all filled out as a guide to tell her supporters how to vote and otherwise sane people exactly how not to vote.
Arizona law prohibits showing anyone a photograph of another person’s filled-out ballot. You can show off your own early ballot all you want. But not somebody else’s votes.
Wadsack’s ballots are sent to the address at which she’s registered to vote, over on the Southeast Side. The ballot she “twixed” to the world included a TUSD question that a voter at her address would not be considering — because she’s not registered to vote in that district. Ballots only contain items that recipients are eligible to vote on.
Wadsack repeatedly claimed that it was her ballot. Government officials provided documentation that demonstrates it could not be.
Whose ballot did Justine Wadsack post online? Pima County says it couldn’t have been hers.
Showing off somebody else’s ballot, with bubbles filled in to indicate choices, is an Arizona election crime punishable by up to four months in jail and a $750 fine.
No, I’m not suggesting Wadsack should got to jail for a third of a year. On the other hand…
In her first legislative session, she sponsored or cosponsored 17 bills about stuff like “elections integrity” and “ballot purity.” She was adamant that election laws be followed to the the last syllable of the law. If she were to then break the law – especially the election laws she’s hellbent on tightening – then maybe that’s exactly what should happen to her.
Let’s pretend for a second her efforts to protect the ballot are sincere. This is like finding out Greta Thunberg is burning coal in her backyard just for the hell of it.
If Wadsack’s “concerns” over ballots are actually about establishing a perpetual minority rule in Arizona (with her in charge), then maybe someone should look into this.
Wadsack spent part of the week at Mar-a-Lago (the capital of bad-faith election fraud claims) to see a film by Dinesh D’Souza (a major spreader of false election theft claims). I’m just not so willing to give her the benefit of the doubt.
What’s more, she seems to have just kept lying about the matter all week, insisting the ballot she tweeted out was hers. But it clearly couldn’t have been hers because the ballot included a question about the Tucson Unified School District bond election. According to her voter registration (and testimony she’s given in court), Wadsack doesn’t reside in TUSD. She rents a room in a house in the Vail school district.
She might’ve moved out of Legislative District 17, and back to the Sam Hughes home she owns with her husband — where he’s registered to vote.
But she didn’t change her voter registration, if that’s the case — the ballot she was sent was the appropriate one for her registered address, documents provided to the Tucson Sentinel by county officials demonstrated.
This didn’t require forensics. No CSI moves were involved in the sleuthing of this particular mystery. Sherlock Holmes’ domestic assistant solved this one before it even got anywhere near Watson.
Her bigger problem
Wadsack, see, represents LD17 in the Legislature. She’s registered to vote there, at a house in which she rents a room. She owns a home in the Sam Hughes neighborhood near the University of Arizona. The two are not adjacent, most Tucsonans could tell you.
Under state law, to be elected to the Legislature, she has to reside in the district she represents. She says she does. In fact, her ballot is sent to that address. However, Sam Hughes is not in LD17, or TUSD. Her husband lives there.
Might it have been her husband’s ballot? Well, showing that off to the public would be a crime, under a technical reading of the law.
If Wadsack actually lives in Sam Hughes but has a convenient mailing/registration address in Vail then she’s committing a form of fraud every time she casts a vote in the Legislature.
Whenever she sponsors or says “aye” to a bill, she’s doing so on behalf of the voters living in her district. She’s supposed to be one, too. If she doesn’t, than that is a form of fraud – voting fraud, nonetheless – she commits on a regular basis.
Casting a ballot for a district you don’t live in is also legally problematic.
This isn’t terribly new or limited to Republicans. U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was stalked by right-wing media who built a compelling case she was living with her boyfriend in a part of New York City that wasn’t a part of her congressional district. But y’know what AOC didn’t do? She didn’t run around screaming about the sanctity of the ballot, claiming election fraud. She didn’t sponsor a bunch of bills tightening up who could vote, where, when and how.
Members of Congress in fact don’t need to live in their districts — just in the state, under the U.S. Constitution. (See the scramble among Republicans who live far away from CD 8 to toss their hats in that race.) But state lawmakers do, under Arizona’s laws.
Because I’m a good and just arbiter of truth, I should point out that the state Constitution says lawmakers must be residents of the county they live in but that is a relic of the days when reps and senators were elected by county. The constitution does not preclude the residency requirement in state law, but it should be cleaned up.
Wadsack has pelted the state Senate chamber with ballot-integrity bill after ballot-integrity bill. So she has a glass houses problem.
If the spirit of the law moves us to say “she can’t vote in her legislative district,” then why should she be able to serve in her district?
Or, y’know, shut up and stop tweeting other people’s ballots, and I’m not writing a column.
Why it matters
But maybe that’s the whole point. Wadsack does something shady to get called on it by people she wants voters to hate. Then she can claim victimhood and wave her grievances around to the right-wing talk-radio crowd who fawn over her.
The problem then isn’t her being shady. It’s the rest of us noticing.
Stuff like this will then be used to justify the “Police State” hallucinated in D’Souza’s new movie, requiring a MAGA police state to protect the country from MAGA police state hallucinations.
It’s the Monty Python skit that’s on the verge of eating America.
Do I care a whit if Wadsack tweeted her husband’s ballot? God, no. I’m more bothered that I have to be bothered by it.
Except that there’s a funny thing about police states. The law never applies to the people in charge. Of course she doesn’t think the law should apply to her. In her head, she has a divine right to rule the people she hates and the law is simply an instrument to that end and not a covenant that equally protects all who are bound by it.
Wadsack acts like she’s not bound by the law. She’s just protected by it. So she can write laws, co-sponsor them and vote on them while she just sails above them all and laughs at the rest of us who should serve her.
Senator seeking mailbox
Sen. Wadsack, you voted for a $400 million boondoggle to send privilege kids to elite schools as hard-working Arizonans are taxed to pay for it. Good luck with that during an election, two years after you won by two points without having that anchor around your ankle.
If Donald Trump wins, you lose in ’26. If he loses, you lose in ’24.
So you might want to start shopping for a new mailbox in a safer district.
Don’t be breaking election laws concerning ballot integrity. This isn’t hard.