Horizon, Host: Ted Simons

August 23, 2006


Host: Michael Grant

Jim Pederson, Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate


  • Developer Jim Pederson hopes to unseat Jon Kyl in the United States senate. We talk to the candidate about the issues.
Guests:
  • Jim Pederson - Democratic candidate, U.S. Senate
  • Joe Kingfield - Director, State Elections
Category: Elections

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, developer Jim Pederson hopes to unseat Jon Kyl in the United States senate. We talk to the candidate about the issues. Plus, there's a new voting law going into effect this election season that could help with long lines, but could result in longer waits for election results. That's next, on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Good evening and thanks for joining us tonight on Horizon, I'm Michael Grant. He's been a commercial developer for two decades and was the state chair of the Democratic Party until leaving that position last year. He soon announced he would for the U.S. Senate. Jim Pederson hopes to unseat republican incumbent Jon Kyl. He joins us now to talk about the issues.

Michael Grant:
Jim, good to see you again.

Jim Pederson:
Good to see you, Michael.

Michael Grant:
We were taking a trip down memory lane with that Goldwater-Sholls race.

Jim Pederson: T
hat was the last competitive U.S. senate race we've had in the state of Arizona. That's been a gripe of mine for a long time. I think campaigns ought to be about getting issues on the table, giving a solid debate, giving the voters a choice. They had a choice back in 1980. They're going to have a choice here. But in between time there have been very few choices in the U.S. senate races.


Michael Grant:
Let's get to a few issues now. Not surprisingly immigration is number one. Feds announced yesterday the intent to both build and I think also enhance about 40-miles offense in Cochise County. Good idea?

Jim Pederson:
Well, certainly good to get federal money in here. I mean, this is a federal problem. The state taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill for that because it is a federal issue. Sure, it's going to help. It's going to help. But if we expect a fence, a wall along the entire border between Mexico and Arizona to solve the immigration problem it's not going to do it, Michael. We need a comprehensive approach.

Michael Grant:
Why not?

Jim Pederson:
It's been successful over in southern California and also to a certain extent in El Paso. In fact, immigration will tell you it's created the funnel that's heightened our problem here in Arizona. But you're talking about a border that's over 350-miles long. I really think it's apples and oranges. If we expect that expansion of primarily uninhabited desert land that a wall is going to keep people out they're going to over it, under it, around it. Why not have a comprehensive, common sense approach that takes a view of, we are going to solve this problem. I think a wall just puts up a false sense of security. It's a very simple idea that perhaps people can buy off on. But in the final analysis it's not going to work.

Michael Grant:
I know you're a supporter of the senate version but I want to give you one of the -- I think probably best arguments backed by proponents of the house version on toughening border security. They make the point that, listen. Until you make the border secure, you can't really make a guest worker program stick because you don't have any stick to go with the carat. People just come across the border so why sign up for a guest worker program or any other aspect of a comprehensive immigration project? They just wander across.

Jim Pederson:
Okay. If we're talking about securing the border then let's secure the border. The major portion of the senate bill dealt with border enforcement. It was estimated by the congressional budget office a couple of days ago that would cost about $8 billion a year. In other words, provide about $8 billion per year, 94\% of which is targeted to enforcement. Now, do the math, Michael. More than half of the illegal entries into the United States come across Arizona's border with Mexico.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Jim Pederson:
So a large chunk of that $8 billion would come into Arizona to help solve the problem. And again 94\% allocated to enforcement. Certainly we have tone force the borders. Let's get at the job of doing that.

Michael Grant:
Well, but there's a lot of people that think the senate is just paying lip service to the border security concept. You obviously are not one of those. You see the senate version as being viable and good.

Jim Pederson:
Well, most of the senate version does deal with enforcement. I think there's a common understanding among all people that we have to protect our borders. We have to know who's coming into this country. I think what breaks down is what happens with the undocumented people that are already here. What happens with a practical guest worker program? That's where it breaks down. But we can all agree that resources allocated to border enforcement have to be number one. Sure it does. We understand that.

Michael Grant:
All right. Phoenix voters are going to be asked in November whether or not phoenix should be required to enter into a federal enforcement agreement allowing local police to enforce immigration laws. Good idea?

Jim Pederson:
Well, I think you're dealing with a tremendous frustration of people in the state of nothing being done by the federal government. The league of -- I was at a meeting last night. Talking about municipalities both large and small of being asked again to shoulder the cost of a federal problem. This is what I criticize our congressional delegation for. We used to be able to solve problems in the state. You remember the congressional delegation, both democrat and republican. You had to sit around the table and solve problems. Doesn't seem to be happening today.

Michael Grant:
Well, yeah, it's changed a lot. But what about the concept of local -- because as you know it's been controversial, local law enforcement enforcing immigration law, doing it lawfully in combination with the federal government. There's a lot of people who say, listen. One thing it would help would be the so-called catch and release program which as you know governor Napolitano and sheriff Arpaio were very critical of the -- Arpaio were very critical of the outgoing ice chief last week.

Jim Pederson:
I certainly don't have any problem with local law enforcement enforcing immigration laws but let's provide the funds to do that. If the federal government is willing to reimburse localities, state and local governments not only for pens, school expense, jail expense that's caused by immigration then that's fine. But you talk to a police chief or a city council person or mayor, they're wondering where they're going to find the money to do this.

Michael Grant:
All right. War in Iraq. Shall we have a fixed deadline for getting out of Iraq?

Jim Pederson:
That's becoming almost a buzz word. And it's really covering up an ineptness in this administration. Really a drifting policy that's going nowhere. I think this has been the biggest policy failure of any administration that I can remember. We went over there as you tensiblely to protect the safety and security of the United States. We're not doing that. We went over there to establish a stable government, a security force in Iraq to provide infrastructure investments to get the people on our side. That's not happening. We need somebody new in there, Michael. Without a political agenda to come up with a plan that's going to provide a sensible exit strategy. We don't have that.

Michael Grant: Now, Joe Lieberman comes back from Iraq and he says, au contraire. There is serious progress being made there and we ought to stay there until we get the job done. He gets the ax as you know in Connecticut. Joe Lieberman is a pretty reliable source, isn't he?

Jim Pederson:
I have a lot of respect for Senator Lieberman. I know him he's certainly been helpful to me. But I can't see the progress that he's trying to define, Michael. I see casualties mounting up. I see this tremendous cost that our country's asked to incur again to provide safety and security for our citizens and that has to be the number one obligation of any elected official. But what I am not seeing is any kind of a plan. I think we need to call upon this administration. They got us into this mess. We need to call upon them to get us out. Present us a plan. What's going to happen 30-days from now, 90-days from now, six months from now? We're not seeing that out of this administration.

Michael Grant: Let me get back to the original question, though. At the end of that plan should it say, okay. We're out December 2007? You fill in a date but should it have a fixed target date or not?

Jim Pederson:
I don't think a fixed target date serves any purpose. What I do think is that definition as far as measurable points of progress in Iraq that would determine that date. Again, I'm not seeing that. To get to an end date you have to have intermediate steps. I'm not seeing the intermediate steps.

Michael Grant:
Let me go to your FICA tax proposal. You have proposed as I understand it the social security tax would be cut about 25\% on payroll withholding. Why is that a good idea?

Jim Pederson:
This has been a pet issue of mine for a long time. You know, I was part of that mild class climbing the ladder for a long long time. Roberta and I really didn't -- weren't comfortable until my mid to late 50's. Struggling, growing a business, raising a family. -- a business. We have a tax, a payroll tax, FICA tax that funds social security and Medicare that is tremendously regressive it. Targets a certain segment of our population namely the middle class that has to bear an unproportionate load of providing those critical social services. What I'm saying is that if we're going to cut taxes, cut the payroll tax on the middle class. If we're interested in stimulating the economy, cut the payroll tax. The middle class is going to be out and spend it on sending their kids to college and providing healthcare. That's where we need to target the tax cuts.

Michael Grant:
Maybe spend it to buy a couple extra tank fulls of gas.

Jim Pederson:
Well, good point.

Michael Grant: But here's the issue. Obviously you're going to have a social security shortfall. Obviously that's going to be made up by the general fund, the general taxpayer instead of the work force, right?

Jim Pederson:
We're certainly not advocating any of this without identifying a source to pay for it. What I'm saying is I think the tax cuts of the bush administration have been targeted to a very, very narrow sliver of our population that really doesn't provide -- providing these critical services to our middle class. I mean, they're the ones. You mention gas. They're the ones that have to bear the disproportionate burden or college cost or education cost or healthcare cost. These are the people, Michael, that built our country. My parents came from that middle class. I came from that middle class.

Michael Grant:
Jim Pederson, good talking to you. Best of luck on the campaign trail.

Jim Pederson:
Thank you, Michael.

Michael Grant:
Ever since the 2000 Gore-Bush presidential election concerns of course heightened about voting irregularities. State legislature passed a law this year that addresses some of those concerns. I'll talk to a state county official about the new law how it might impact elections but first Mike Sauceda tells us more about the law.

Mike Sauceda:
Long lines in the last presidential election a demand for a paper trail for voters and concern about software used in electronic voting equipment prompted the legislature to pass a bill this session that would upcome the -- it was signed into law by governor Napolitano in late June. The bill requires hand counts of at least 2\% of the precincts in the county or two precincts whichever is greater. That applies to ballots cast in the polling place in primary, general and preferential elections. If the computer and hand count are different and that difference exceeds or matches a margin yet to be set by a vote count clarification committee then a secondhand count will be done. Hand counts can be ramped up to include an entire voting area. -- if discrepancies continue. Early ballots undergo a separate manual audit. The vote verification committee was established just last week right at the deadline. Ernie Hancock a libertarian activist and local radio producer says he thinks this law was signed after he introduced a lawsuit.

Ernie Hancock:
June 28 it was signed into legislation as an emergency measure by governor Napolitano. What happened is that started the clock running. Now it was enacted as an emergency but the Department of Justice still had to approve that it was okay because we were under probation under civil rights violations as a state for voting, and in my opinion the representatives of the people of Arizona made it clear we want an accurate vote count and I don't need Washington's permission to do that. But they wanted to wait. A month later I checked to see if they were doing anything to comply with the law. Because there were deadlines in there. A month after that on the 25th I filed the special action in Arizona supreme court to assure that they would at least be ready if they had the approval from the department of justice. Well, what happened was they had done nothing. It had to be filed. They were in denial that they were ever going to have to implement this. In fact it was my contention that they never planned to.

Mike Sauceda:
>>The legislation requires that hand counts be done by the committee chair of the political parties that are required for a peer on the state ballot. If the workers don't show up no hand count will be done and computerized --

Ernie Hancock:
Instead of it being a county election function as it should be they're putting it on the county chairs for us to come up with names for them. Not really sure how that got in there. One of the provisions they put in to make sure it would pass because of the opposition by the county recorders and the secretary of state every step of the way, I might add. So what happens is that one of these people if there is one person that doesn't show up the law provides that the hand count be ignored, not done. We go back to the computer, we're back where we were. I'm not comfortable but that.

Mike Sauceda:
The new law also requires a durable paper ballot be issued to voters, relief from long voting lines by bringing extra workers and equipment and open source computer coding which is computer code open for study.

Michael Grant:
Secretary of State's Office has to write a handbook for county recorders to implement the new law. Here from that office to talk about the new law is state directions -- elections director Joe Kingfield and Karen Osborne, a veteran of the Maricopa county recorder's office. Welcome to you both. Karen, I want to touch on actually the long voter lines thing first. Now, we have good news for residence of Maricopa county. You've added some additional precincts, right?

Karen Osborne:
Yes, we added 84 precincts to carve out some of those areas that were high growth and so that we won't have long lines in 2006.

Michael Grant:
you were telling me that for example anthem had some problems. Was it just the last cycle two years ago?

Karen Osborne: It was the last cycle two years ago. And there were not enough commercial buildings that we could get into used for polling places and now there are. We spread anthem up into 6 separate voting precincts and we have new locations for each of them.

Michael Grant: How is this new law, though, deal with if you start running -- well, anticipating the possibility that there might be long lines and/or if they develop on Election Day trying to handle that?

Karen Osborne:
Well, it says that people at the polling place will then monitor those lines and then they can call into our central headquarters to our troubleshooter system and then we are dis-- will dispatch more people, more tables, anything that helps to get those lines down. But the biggest thing we could do was split up the precincts.

Michael Grant:
What's the criteria for -- I mean, when is it too busy? Is it 15 minutes, 30 minutes? Is there a break point?

Karen Osborne:
We haven't decided that. The secretary of state will help everybody to decide what that time frame is.

Michael Grant:
I understand you can get workers there, hopefully fairly quickly if -- quickly if you've got a backlog but what about the voting equipment itself?


Karen Osborne:
The voting equipment we've never had a backlog at the voting equipment. That's not what holds it up.

Michael Grant:
Getting through?

Karen Osborne:
Yes. There are 88 questions on the general election ballot last time and this time there'll be close to 100. And it simply takes a long time when you're at that polling place to vote.

Michael Grant:
All right. Joe let me go to you because I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond to a couple of things that Ernie said on there. He said that he forced the secretary of state's office to name the committee by filing the lawsuit.

Joe Kanefield:
Not true, Mike. Not true. There are a number of inaccuracies in what Mr. Hancock said. Let me just start by telling you the first thing that had to happen was this law had to be cleared by the U.S. department of justice. That is a requirement in the state. We're a covered state under the voting rights act of 1965. Any change to any voting practice, procedure, law, policy must be cleared before it becomes effective. That law became effective 11-days ago. Secretary of state Jan brewer has done everything that is required of her to do under that law. The first order of business was to appoint what's called the vote count verification committee. This is the committee that will establish the acceptable variance in this audit, this post-election audit of the 2\% of the precincts and the 1\% of the early ballots. That committee has been established first meeting will be Friday. It consists of a number of experts including two professors at Arizona state united states and university of Arizona, the head of the computer science department, the head of the computer systems for the state of Arizona, an election director for after pie county and a so we have every confidence this group will get together and do the job they're supposed to do. Establish that variance in the timeline set forth in the statute.

Michael Grant:
She says the law can be circumvented. This is the one that requires a hand count and we'll be talking about in more detail in just a minute you but can be circumvented by workers not showing up to do the hand count. Concern?

Joe Kanefield:
Well, it's how the ledge commission was written. -- Legislation was written. In order to pull off a hand count of this magnitude you're going to need workers. In the statute itself the legislature built into this the requirement that party officials supply those workers. If they're not able to supply those workers the hand count is not able to occur. As Karen will attest, this can't go on. So that's circumvent? I'm not sure that's an accurate way to describe it.

Michael Grant:
Thwart? I mean, what if you threw a hand count and nobody came I think is the way -- [laughter]

Joe Kanefield: That's the way it was written. The people with the highest interest in this process would obviously be the head of the political parties. And they would be required -- they are required under this law to supply I believe it's three election workers per precinct to count those ballots and to assist in the process. So they will be dual notified of that obligation, the time for which they'll need to make those appointments and come time for the count hopefully they'll show up and we can do this hand count.

Michael Grant: Karen, basically what happens here is that 2\% of the precincts -- I think they're randomly picked if I recall correctly -- you hand count those ballots and that's really compared to the computer result. Basically to be manual verification process on whether or not the computer is counting correctly. I mean, that's the concept, right?

Karen Osborne:
That's exactly correct. In Maricopa county we'll hand count over 100,000 votes in accordance with the law. They're going to pick out four different races, 24 precincts and then we will test the ballots that are tabulated at the polling place. We will tabulate the -- we will test the touch-screens for our disabled community and we will tabulate the early ballots. Those will all be done separately.

Michael Grant:
So what sort of time does this all take? Because I mean, it's a very tight time frames, particularly between the primary and the general.

Karen Osborne: That's correct. That's the crux of one of the issues that we've been modeling. This we've been working to develop how are we going to -- how the logistics are going to work. Because that's why it's so very critical they do provide three people from each political party to start that process. Because you have to have three people to work on those 24 precincts, you have to have three people in each of those areas. And that's going to be the minimum that we can have to go forward. But it is going to take several days to do.

Michael Grant:
Now, Joe, this verification committee I understand one of the things it does is say, well, okay. Here's the tolerance we've got for a discrepancy between the hand count and what the computer count was?

Joe Kanefield:
That's exactly right. One of the things that this ledge commission does is it -- legislation does is it says that when the hand count occurs the people conducting the hand count have to apply the voter standard. We can all remember back to bush versus gore with the election officials holding up the punch cards trying to determine if a Chad was pregnant or hanging. And you might recall one of the reasons that count was stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court was that different counties were using different standards in determining what was the intent of the voter. So one of the things this committee is going to have to take into account is just the human factor. When you introduce human beings into a process like this of this magnitude there is going to be human error. They're going to have to figure out what is that human error ands the variance it's going to account for between the hand count and machine count.

Michael Grant:
Give me an illustration, Karen of where this can be confusion here. Because there you had hanging and pregnant and other words -- dimpled. That's right. But here you just draw a line at least on the systems that we use, you draw a line there. I suppose it might not touch completely. But how much confusion can there be?

Karen Osborne: Well, what happens, sometimes, is that people instead of just making the straight line, they'll circle their choice. And then they'll make unusual lines when they're trying to mark things out. And the computer reads it as an overvote. It's simply looking down this light track and it's telling there's votes as far as it's concerned completely for everybody in that list. And so that's one of the things we're going to have to decide because we're test to go see is the computer counting to its capability. And that's what we want to make sure. Is it -- we have replaced our equipment in Maricopa county. Are we able to monitor all of the votes that were with the different color pens and all of that? But in some of the special situations, the computer has no capability in discerning between the two.

Michael Grant:
Sure. Are either one of you aware if this has been done elsewhere? I mean, if we've had routinely -- I mean, obviously we're all familiar with Florida but if we've had a routine process to actually sort of very routinely check, okay, how accurate was the computer or how much guess work was involved?

Joe Kanefield:
Well, we know California has done it for years. I think they have a 1\% -- I don't recall exactly, I think it's a 1\% random sampling of the precincts that are hand counted post election to just determine whether or not the machines counted the votes accurately. So it has been done in other states.

Michael Grant:
What's the track record been? Do you have any idea?

Joe Kanefield:
Everything I've ever seen -- and I don't profess to be an expert on California law in this process -- but everything I've seen is that process has done nothing but verify the accuracy of the machines and the integrity of the whole process which we're confident will be the case when this hand count is done.

Michael Grant: Joe Kanefield from the Secretary of State's Office. Karen Osborne good to see you again.

Karen Osborne:
Thank you.

Mike Sauceda:
University of Arizona's new president, Robert Shelton, helps students move into their dorms he himself recently moved into his office at the u of a coming from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to head up the university replacing Doctor Peter Likins. Shelton will talk about his goals for the Tucson University next Thursday at 7:00 on horizon.

Michael Grant:
And Friday don't forget to join us at this 5-sided table for the journalists roundtable. Thank you very much for being here this evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Announcer:
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Announcer:
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New Voting Law


  • A new law passed by the legislature this year will affect the upcoming elections. It will require a hand count of a portion of some races, will require equipment and personnel to be brought in if there's a long line at the polling place, and require a paper receipt for electronic voting. Joe Kanefield, elections director of the Secretary of State's office, and Karen Osborne of the Maricopa County Recorders office, will talk about the new law.
Guests:
  • Jim Pederson - Democratic candidate, U.S. Senate
  • Joe Kingfield - Director, State Elections
Category: Law

View Transcript
Michael Grant:
Tonight on Horizon, developer Jim Pederson hopes to unseat Jon Kyl in the United States senate. We talk to the candidate about the issues. Plus, there's a new voting law going into effect this election season that could help with long lines, but could result in longer waits for election results. That's next, on Horizon.

Michael Grant:
Good evening and thanks for joining us tonight on Horizon, I'm Michael Grant. He's been a commercial developer for two decades and was the state chair of the Democratic Party until leaving that position last year. He soon announced he would for the U.S. Senate. Jim Pederson hopes to unseat republican incumbent Jon Kyl. He joins us now to talk about the issues.

Michael Grant:
Jim, good to see you again.

Jim Pederson:
Good to see you, Michael.

Michael Grant:
We were taking a trip down memory lane with that Goldwater-Sholls race.

Jim Pederson: T
hat was the last competitive U.S. senate race we've had in the state of Arizona. That's been a gripe of mine for a long time. I think campaigns ought to be about getting issues on the table, giving a solid debate, giving the voters a choice. They had a choice back in 1980. They're going to have a choice here. But in between time there have been very few choices in the U.S. senate races.


Michael Grant:
Let's get to a few issues now. Not surprisingly immigration is number one. Feds announced yesterday the intent to both build and I think also enhance about 40-miles offense in Cochise County. Good idea?

Jim Pederson:
Well, certainly good to get federal money in here. I mean, this is a federal problem. The state taxpayers shouldn't have to foot the bill for that because it is a federal issue. Sure, it's going to help. It's going to help. But if we expect a fence, a wall along the entire border between Mexico and Arizona to solve the immigration problem it's not going to do it, Michael. We need a comprehensive approach.

Michael Grant:
Why not?

Jim Pederson:
It's been successful over in southern California and also to a certain extent in El Paso. In fact, immigration will tell you it's created the funnel that's heightened our problem here in Arizona. But you're talking about a border that's over 350-miles long. I really think it's apples and oranges. If we expect that expansion of primarily uninhabited desert land that a wall is going to keep people out they're going to over it, under it, around it. Why not have a comprehensive, common sense approach that takes a view of, we are going to solve this problem. I think a wall just puts up a false sense of security. It's a very simple idea that perhaps people can buy off on. But in the final analysis it's not going to work.

Michael Grant:
I know you're a supporter of the senate version but I want to give you one of the -- I think probably best arguments backed by proponents of the house version on toughening border security. They make the point that, listen. Until you make the border secure, you can't really make a guest worker program stick because you don't have any stick to go with the carat. People just come across the border so why sign up for a guest worker program or any other aspect of a comprehensive immigration project? They just wander across.

Jim Pederson:
Okay. If we're talking about securing the border then let's secure the border. The major portion of the senate bill dealt with border enforcement. It was estimated by the congressional budget office a couple of days ago that would cost about $8 billion a year. In other words, provide about $8 billion per year, 94\% of which is targeted to enforcement. Now, do the math, Michael. More than half of the illegal entries into the United States come across Arizona's border with Mexico.

Michael Grant:
Right.

Jim Pederson:
So a large chunk of that $8 billion would come into Arizona to help solve the problem. And again 94\% allocated to enforcement. Certainly we have tone force the borders. Let's get at the job of doing that.

Michael Grant:
Well, but there's a lot of people that think the senate is just paying lip service to the border security concept. You obviously are not one of those. You see the senate version as being viable and good.

Jim Pederson:
Well, most of the senate version does deal with enforcement. I think there's a common understanding among all people that we have to protect our borders. We have to know who's coming into this country. I think what breaks down is what happens with the undocumented people that are already here. What happens with a practical guest worker program? That's where it breaks down. But we can all agree that resources allocated to border enforcement have to be number one. Sure it does. We understand that.

Michael Grant:
All right. Phoenix voters are going to be asked in November whether or not phoenix should be required to enter into a federal enforcement agreement allowing local police to enforce immigration laws. Good idea?

Jim Pederson:
Well, I think you're dealing with a tremendous frustration of people in the state of nothing being done by the federal government. The league of -- I was at a meeting last night. Talking about municipalities both large and small of being asked again to shoulder the cost of a federal problem. This is what I criticize our congressional delegation for. We used to be able to solve problems in the state. You remember the congressional delegation, both democrat and republican. You had to sit around the table and solve problems. Doesn't seem to be happening today.

Michael Grant:
Well, yeah, it's changed a lot. But what about the concept of local -- because as you know it's been controversial, local law enforcement enforcing immigration law, doing it lawfully in combination with the federal government. There's a lot of people who say, listen. One thing it would help would be the so-called catch and release program which as you know governor Napolitano and sheriff Arpaio were very critical of the -- Arpaio were very critical of the outgoing ice chief last week.

Jim Pederson:
I certainly don't have any problem with local law enforcement enforcing immigration laws but let's provide the funds to do that. If the federal government is willing to reimburse localities, state and local governments not only for pens, school expense, jail expense that's caused by immigration then that's fine. But you talk to a police chief or a city council person or mayor, they're wondering where they're going to find the money to do this.

Michael Grant:
All right. War in Iraq. Shall we have a fixed deadline for getting out of Iraq?

Jim Pederson:
That's becoming almost a buzz word. And it's really covering up an ineptness in this administration. Really a drifting policy that's going nowhere. I think this has been the biggest policy failure of any administration that I can remember. We went over there as you tensiblely to protect the safety and security of the United States. We're not doing that. We went over there to establish a stable government, a security force in Iraq to provide infrastructure investments to get the people on our side. That's not happening. We need somebody new in there, Michael. Without a political agenda to come up with a plan that's going to provide a sensible exit strategy. We don't have that.

Michael Grant: Now, Joe Lieberman comes back from Iraq and he says, au contraire. There is serious progress being made there and we ought to stay there until we get the job done. He gets the ax as you know in Connecticut. Joe Lieberman is a pretty reliable source, isn't he?

Jim Pederson:
I have a lot of respect for Senator Lieberman. I know him he's certainly been helpful to me. But I can't see the progress that he's trying to define, Michael. I see casualties mounting up. I see this tremendous cost that our country's asked to incur again to provide safety and security for our citizens and that has to be the number one obligation of any elected official. But what I am not seeing is any kind of a plan. I think we need to call upon this administration. They got us into this mess. We need to call upon them to get us out. Present us a plan. What's going to happen 30-days from now, 90-days from now, six months from now? We're not seeing that out of this administration.

Michael Grant: Let me get back to the original question, though. At the end of that plan should it say, okay. We're out December 2007? You fill in a date but should it have a fixed target date or not?

Jim Pederson:
I don't think a fixed target date serves any purpose. What I do think is that definition as far as measurable points of progress in Iraq that would determine that date. Again, I'm not seeing that. To get to an end date you have to have intermediate steps. I'm not seeing the intermediate steps.

Michael Grant:
Let me go to your FICA tax proposal. You have proposed as I understand it the social security tax would be cut about 25\% on payroll withholding. Why is that a good idea?

Jim Pederson:
This has been a pet issue of mine for a long time. You know, I was part of that mild class climbing the ladder for a long long time. Roberta and I really didn't -- weren't comfortable until my mid to late 50's. Struggling, growing a business, raising a family. -- a business. We have a tax, a payroll tax, FICA tax that funds social security and Medicare that is tremendously regressive it. Targets a certain segment of our population namely the middle class that has to bear an unproportionate load of providing those critical social services. What I'm saying is that if we're going to cut taxes, cut the payroll tax on the middle class. If we're interested in stimulating the economy, cut the payroll tax. The middle class is going to be out and spend it on sending their kids to college and providing healthcare. That's where we need to target the tax cuts.

Michael Grant:
Maybe spend it to buy a couple extra tank fulls of gas.

Jim Pederson:
Well, good point.

Michael Grant: But here's the issue. Obviously you're going to have a social security shortfall. Obviously that's going to be made up by the general fund, the general taxpayer instead of the work force, right?

Jim Pederson:
We're certainly not advocating any of this without identifying a source to pay for it. What I'm saying is I think the tax cuts of the bush administration have been targeted to a very, very narrow sliver of our population that really doesn't provide -- providing these critical services to our middle class. I mean, they're the ones. You mention gas. They're the ones that have to bear the disproportionate burden or college cost or education cost or healthcare cost. These are the people, Michael, that built our country. My parents came from that middle class. I came from that middle class.

Michael Grant:
Jim Pederson, good talking to you. Best of luck on the campaign trail.

Jim Pederson:
Thank you, Michael.

Michael Grant:
Ever since the 2000 Gore-Bush presidential election concerns of course heightened about voting irregularities. State legislature passed a law this year that addresses some of those concerns. I'll talk to a state county official about the new law how it might impact elections but first Mike Sauceda tells us more about the law.

Mike Sauceda:
Long lines in the last presidential election a demand for a paper trail for voters and concern about software used in electronic voting equipment prompted the legislature to pass a bill this session that would upcome the -- it was signed into law by governor Napolitano in late June. The bill requires hand counts of at least 2\% of the precincts in the county or two precincts whichever is greater. That applies to ballots cast in the polling place in primary, general and preferential elections. If the computer and hand count are different and that difference exceeds or matches a margin yet to be set by a vote count clarification committee then a secondhand count will be done. Hand counts can be ramped up to include an entire voting area. -- if discrepancies continue. Early ballots undergo a separate manual audit. The vote verification committee was established just last week right at the deadline. Ernie Hancock a libertarian activist and local radio producer says he thinks this law was signed after he introduced a lawsuit.

Ernie Hancock:
June 28 it was signed into legislation as an emergency measure by governor Napolitano. What happened is that started the clock running. Now it was enacted as an emergency but the Department of Justice still had to approve that it was okay because we were under probation under civil rights violations as a state for voting, and in my opinion the representatives of the people of Arizona made it clear we want an accurate vote count and I don't need Washington's permission to do that. But they wanted to wait. A month later I checked to see if they were doing anything to comply with the law. Because there were deadlines in there. A month after that on the 25th I filed the special action in Arizona supreme court to assure that they would at least be ready if they had the approval from the department of justice. Well, what happened was they had done nothing. It had to be filed. They were in denial that they were ever going to have to implement this. In fact it was my contention that they never planned to.

Mike Sauceda:
>>The legislation requires that hand counts be done by the committee chair of the political parties that are required for a peer on the state ballot. If the workers don't show up no hand count will be done and computerized --

Ernie Hancock:
Instead of it being a county election function as it should be they're putting it on the county chairs for us to come up with names for them. Not really sure how that got in there. One of the provisions they put in to make sure it would pass because of the opposition by the county recorders and the secretary of state every step of the way, I might add. So what happens is that one of these people if there is one person that doesn't show up the law provides that the hand count be ignored, not done. We go back to the computer, we're back where we were. I'm not comfortable but that.

Mike Sauceda:
The new law also requires a durable paper ballot be issued to voters, relief from long voting lines by bringing extra workers and equipment and open source computer coding which is computer code open for study.

Michael Grant:
Secretary of State's Office has to write a handbook for county recorders to implement the new law. Here from that office to talk about the new law is state directions -- elections director Joe Kingfield and Karen Osborne, a veteran of the Maricopa county recorder's office. Welcome to you both. Karen, I want to touch on actually the long voter lines thing first. Now, we have good news for residence of Maricopa county. You've added some additional precincts, right?

Karen Osborne:
Yes, we added 84 precincts to carve out some of those areas that were high growth and so that we won't have long lines in 2006.

Michael Grant:
you were telling me that for example anthem had some problems. Was it just the last cycle two years ago?

Karen Osborne: It was the last cycle two years ago. And there were not enough commercial buildings that we could get into used for polling places and now there are. We spread anthem up into 6 separate voting precincts and we have new locations for each of them.

Michael Grant: How is this new law, though, deal with if you start running -- well, anticipating the possibility that there might be long lines and/or if they develop on Election Day trying to handle that?

Karen Osborne:
Well, it says that people at the polling place will then monitor those lines and then they can call into our central headquarters to our troubleshooter system and then we are dis-- will dispatch more people, more tables, anything that helps to get those lines down. But the biggest thing we could do was split up the precincts.

Michael Grant:
What's the criteria for -- I mean, when is it too busy? Is it 15 minutes, 30 minutes? Is there a break point?

Karen Osborne:
We haven't decided that. The secretary of state will help everybody to decide what that time frame is.

Michael Grant:
I understand you can get workers there, hopefully fairly quickly if -- quickly if you've got a backlog but what about the voting equipment itself?


Karen Osborne:
The voting equipment we've never had a backlog at the voting equipment. That's not what holds it up.

Michael Grant:
Getting through?

Karen Osborne:
Yes. There are 88 questions on the general election ballot last time and this time there'll be close to 100. And it simply takes a long time when you're at that polling place to vote.

Michael Grant:
All right. Joe let me go to you because I wanted to give you an opportunity to respond to a couple of things that Ernie said on there. He said that he forced the secretary of state's office to name the committee by filing the lawsuit.

Joe Kanefield:
Not true, Mike. Not true. There are a number of inaccuracies in what Mr. Hancock said. Let me just start by telling you the first thing that had to happen was this law had to be cleared by the U.S. department of justice. That is a requirement in the state. We're a covered state under the voting rights act of 1965. Any change to any voting practice, procedure, law, policy must be cleared before it becomes effective. That law became effective 11-days ago. Secretary of state Jan brewer has done everything that is required of her to do under that law. The first order of business was to appoint what's called the vote count verification committee. This is the committee that will establish the acceptable variance in this audit, this post-election audit of the 2\% of the precincts and the 1\% of the early ballots. That committee has been established first meeting will be Friday. It consists of a number of experts including two professors at Arizona state united states and university of Arizona, the head of the computer science department, the head of the computer systems for the state of Arizona, an election director for after pie county and a so we have every confidence this group will get together and do the job they're supposed to do. Establish that variance in the timeline set forth in the statute.

Michael Grant:
She says the law can be circumvented. This is the one that requires a hand count and we'll be talking about in more detail in just a minute you but can be circumvented by workers not showing up to do the hand count. Concern?

Joe Kanefield:
Well, it's how the ledge commission was written. -- Legislation was written. In order to pull off a hand count of this magnitude you're going to need workers. In the statute itself the legislature built into this the requirement that party officials supply those workers. If they're not able to supply those workers the hand count is not able to occur. As Karen will attest, this can't go on. So that's circumvent? I'm not sure that's an accurate way to describe it.

Michael Grant:
Thwart? I mean, what if you threw a hand count and nobody came I think is the way -- [laughter]

Joe Kanefield: That's the way it was written. The people with the highest interest in this process would obviously be the head of the political parties. And they would be required -- they are required under this law to supply I believe it's three election workers per precinct to count those ballots and to assist in the process. So they will be dual notified of that obligation, the time for which they'll need to make those appointments and come time for the count hopefully they'll show up and we can do this hand count.

Michael Grant: Karen, basically what happens here is that 2\% of the precincts -- I think they're randomly picked if I recall correctly -- you hand count those ballots and that's really compared to the computer result. Basically to be manual verification process on whether or not the computer is counting correctly. I mean, that's the concept, right?

Karen Osborne:
That's exactly correct. In Maricopa county we'll hand count over 100,000 votes in accordance with the law. They're going to pick out four different races, 24 precincts and then we will test the ballots that are tabulated at the polling place. We will tabulate the -- we will test the touch-screens for our disabled community and we will tabulate the early ballots. Those will all be done separately.

Michael Grant:
So what sort of time does this all take? Because I mean, it's a very tight time frames, particularly between the primary and the general.

Karen Osborne: That's correct. That's the crux of one of the issues that we've been modeling. This we've been working to develop how are we going to -- how the logistics are going to work. Because that's why it's so very critical they do provide three people from each political party to start that process. Because you have to have three people to work on those 24 precincts, you have to have three people in each of those areas. And that's going to be the minimum that we can have to go forward. But it is going to take several days to do.

Michael Grant:
Now, Joe, this verification committee I understand one of the things it does is say, well, okay. Here's the tolerance we've got for a discrepancy between the hand count and what the computer count was?

Joe Kanefield:
That's exactly right. One of the things that this ledge commission does is it -- legislation does is it says that when the hand count occurs the people conducting the hand count have to apply the voter standard. We can all remember back to bush versus gore with the election officials holding up the punch cards trying to determine if a Chad was pregnant or hanging. And you might recall one of the reasons that count was stopped by the U.S. Supreme Court was that different counties were using different standards in determining what was the intent of the voter. So one of the things this committee is going to have to take into account is just the human factor. When you introduce human beings into a process like this of this magnitude there is going to be human error. They're going to have to figure out what is that human error ands the variance it's going to account for between the hand count and machine count.

Michael Grant:
Give me an illustration, Karen of where this can be confusion here. Because there you had hanging and pregnant and other words -- dimpled. That's right. But here you just draw a line at least on the systems that we use, you draw a line there. I suppose it might not touch completely. But how much confusion can there be?

Karen Osborne: Well, what happens, sometimes, is that people instead of just making the straight line, they'll circle their choice. And then they'll make unusual lines when they're trying to mark things out. And the computer reads it as an overvote. It's simply looking down this light track and it's telling there's votes as far as it's concerned completely for everybody in that list. And so that's one of the things we're going to have to decide because we're test to go see is the computer counting to its capability. And that's what we want to make sure. Is it -- we have replaced our equipment in Maricopa county. Are we able to monitor all of the votes that were with the different color pens and all of that? But in some of the special situations, the computer has no capability in discerning between the two.

Michael Grant:
Sure. Are either one of you aware if this has been done elsewhere? I mean, if we've had routinely -- I mean, obviously we're all familiar with Florida but if we've had a routine process to actually sort of very routinely check, okay, how accurate was the computer or how much guess work was involved?

Joe Kanefield:
Well, we know California has done it for years. I think they have a 1\% -- I don't recall exactly, I think it's a 1\% random sampling of the precincts that are hand counted post election to just determine whether or not the machines counted the votes accurately. So it has been done in other states.

Michael Grant:
What's the track record been? Do you have any idea?

Joe Kanefield:
Everything I've ever seen -- and I don't profess to be an expert on California law in this process -- but everything I've seen is that process has done nothing but verify the accuracy of the machines and the integrity of the whole process which we're confident will be the case when this hand count is done.

Michael Grant: Joe Kanefield from the Secretary of State's Office. Karen Osborne good to see you again.

Karen Osborne:
Thank you.

Mike Sauceda:
University of Arizona's new president, Robert Shelton, helps students move into their dorms he himself recently moved into his office at the u of a coming from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill to head up the university replacing Doctor Peter Likins. Shelton will talk about his goals for the Tucson University next Thursday at 7:00 on horizon.

Michael Grant:
And Friday don't forget to join us at this 5-sided table for the journalists roundtable. Thank you very much for being here this evening. I'm Michael Grant. Have a great one. Good night.

Announcer:
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