Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the original all-star panelist Crom Carmichael to the studio to discuss Arizona and Georgia State Legislature in regard to HB2023, absentee ballots, voter harvesting, and drop boxes.

Leahy: We are joined in studio by the original All-star panelist Crom Carmichael. Crom good morning.

Carmichael: Good morning, Michael.

Leahy: Well, you told me you were listening.

Carmichael: I was listening as I was driving in.

Leahy: How I spent my Thursday morning.

Carmichael: Dive a little deeper because right at the end, you were talking about what you thought was the key phrase in the 5,000-word opinion. And there are in all Supreme Court cases, there are always in the rulings key phrases. I think Breyer wrote the descent. Is that correct?

Leahy: Kagan wrote the decent. But Breyer dissented along with Kagan. And you know who the other one was.

Carmichael: Sotomayor.

Leahy: What a surprise.

Carmichael: And now you see with Merrick Garland, he’s really showing himself to be a political hack.

Leahy: Total political hack.

Carmichael: The Supreme Court, it’s amazing how often times they do vote nine to nothing or eight to one. It really is. It’s over a majority of the time that they vote either nine to nothing or eight to one.

But there are a few cases where they tend to divide along with ideological lives. I’m not going to necessarily say political lines, but in this case, when I say finally, I’m not saying that in a good way or a bad way.

But this is the first time where the lines break where you have Democrat-appointed judges and you have Republican-appointed judges who regularly broke and voted with the Democrat-appointed judges.

Leahy: Let’s elaborate on this. There were two issues that the court decided in favor of the state of Arizona. One had to do with a statute called HB 2023 which banned ballot harvesting.

In other words, if there was an absentee ballot it had to be delivered in almost every case by the individual who had the ballot not collected by a friend.

Carmichael: Who voted. Not who just had it, but who voted.

Leahy: Exactly.

Carmichael: The legislature in Arizona voted or ruled and created legislation that said that it’s Arizona that said that if you have an absentee ballot, you have to deliver it yourself. You can’t let somebody else gather up a bunch of them and bring them in. And Arizona voted to outlaw the harvesting process. Arizona did. So the Supreme Court didn’t outlaw harvesting.

Leahy: It was the state of Arizona. It was actually a bill called HB 2023. It was a past in 2016, as it turns out, the state Senator did. Last night I spoke with the state Senator who was the primary sponsor of that bill, wrote a story about that at Breitbart as well. And her name is Michelle Ugenti-Rita. That’s her name.

And she basically said in an exclusive interview with Breitbart with me last night, she said, ‘the Supreme Court found the exact opposite of what Democrats have claimed. Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling in Brnovich v. Democrat National Committee affirms that. As the primary sponsor of HB 2023, that’s state Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita and my colleagues in the legislature who voted for it, did not do it with discriminatory intent. That’s what Democrats have been saying for five years. Democrats owe Arizona voters an apology.’

Carmichael: Let me ask you a question. So that bill passed that you could not do vote harvesting in Arizona in 2,016, right. Did they do vote harvesting in 2020?

Leahy: You know, that’s a little bit of what this audit is Maricopa County is attempting to find out. I don’t think so. I think they’re looking into whether that law was violated.

Carmichael: Okay. So what you’re saying is, let me be sure I’m clear here to give a comparison. The Secretary of State of Georgia, in his capacity, believed that he had the authority to settle lawsuits and give the Democrats and Zuckerberg the right to do things that the legislature of Georgia did not authorize?

Leahy: Specifically, it was the state election board that he chairs that put an election code rule in that allowed the use of drop boxes for the deposit of absentee ballots which was not statutorily authorized, as it should be by the state legislature.

Carmichael: And they were private drop boxes. In other words, they weren’t Post Office boxes controlled by the post office.

Leahy: No.

Carmichael: They were private drop boxes.

Leahy: Controlled by the county election administration.

Carmichael: Which you’d have to assume is a form of vote harvesting because anybody who wants to could bring a pile of ballots and dump them in one of those private drop boxes correct? There’s nothing that would keep somebody from doing that.

Leahy: Supposedly Crom, that’s what all of our reporting has been. Supposedly they had 24/7 cameras on that. Nobody looked at it and it’s a massive task to look at it. Nobody’s really taken all those records. But in Georgia now the chain of custody has not been established for more than half of those ballots placed in drop boxes. We’ve shown that at the Georgia Star News.

Carmichael: But if you did that with a post office box, if you dumped a bunch of illegal ballots into a post office box, that would be federal mail fraud.

Leahy: Yes.

Carmichael: And that would be a big deal. But if you drop it in a Zuckerberg box, that’s not federal mail fraud because you didn’t use the U.S. Postal Service.

Leahy: You’re exactly right.

Carmichael: And the Secretary of state in Georgia did something that he had no legal right to do, but he did it and got away with it.

Leahy: The state election board of which he chairs did that.

Carmichael: Did that. Thank you for the clarification. So in Arizona, you have a law that was passed in 2,016. That law has been passed. It was 2,016. And it’s taken this long to get to the Supreme Court.

Leahy: Correct. It took five years to get to the Supreme Court. Meanwhile, it’s supposed to have been enforced in Arizona. They have a different dropbox mechanism. In Georgia, the drop boxes are all over the place. You could go miles and miles and miles from the collection center. In Arizona, I think they just placed drop boxes outside of election offices. So it’s a little different. And I think they had a number of them, but they were right inside of voting locations.

Carmichael: Okay. Now, according to this ruling then, if a state wants to allow vote harvesting and the legislature passes legislation for vote harvesting within that state, vote harvesting would be legal correct?

Leahy: Well, I don’t know the answer to that question because that wasn’t exactly the issue that was tried here. The issue wasn’t can any state pass vote harvesting? The issue is the ban on harvesting legal. Is a ban a violation of section two of the Voting Rights Act? According to them, it wasn’t.

Carmichael: So Alito ruled in favor of the States of Arizona’s right as a state to pass election laws under the Constitution that are non-discriminatory.

Leahy: Yeah, exactly.

Carmichael: But Alito didn’t rule one way or the other on whether or not vote harvesting itself is discriminatory one way or the other or legal. Aren’t there some states that have passed laws that allow for vote harvesting?

Leahy: Actually, there are a total right now when you talk about there are two elements to vote harvest. You talk about depositing absentee ballots and drop boxes. That’s one thing. But there’s also in North Carolina, which is very controversial.

It has been common practice not to vote harvest in a different way. In other words, what the Democrats did for many, many years there. They would send absentee ballots off to nursing homes and various places like that.

Then they would put their operatives and that’s a kind word. And they would go to the nursing homes, and they would go to people and make sure that they had signed them. They would collect them and they’d take hundreds at a time and place them back.

Carmichael: Now, in North Carolina, there was a Democrat who did that for many elections, who got mad at the Democrat Party.

Leahy: Yes. Exactly.

Carmichael: And then did exactly what he had been doing for the Democrat Party, he did it for the Republican Party and got somebody elected by doing it. And then that person, the election was overturned.

And that individual, I don’t remember his name, but that individual was then arrested and ended up indicted and convicted.

Leahy: I think he’s serving a little time for them. It was a common practice, but it was often violated in practice by usually Democratic operatives. But in one case, when a Republican operative got caught doing it he was indicted.

Carmichael: Now because of that case, it must now be in North Carolina, must be illegal because the person was criminally convicted for doing it for the Republican Party.

Leahy: It was illegal before they just got away with it. (Chuckles)

Carmichael: All right, well, now the question is whether or not if the Democrats go back to doing it again, whether or not the authorities…

Leahy: You mean selective prosecution might be a possibility? Just ask Donald Trump’s, CFO, if the idea of selective prosecution is a possibility.

Carmichael: When we get back, I want to talk about that and compare it to Bill Cosby.

Leahy: Let’s do that.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.