August 10, 2022

Patriot Party exceeds deadline to become an official political party in 2022

The fledgling Patriot Party skipped an appointment with the Secretary of State’s office to submit signatures so that it can be recognized as an official party, meaning its candidates will not be on the ballot when the party is called. 2022 electoral cycle, the first since its formation.

According to Murphy Hebert, spokesperson for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, Patriot Party chairman Steve Daniels was due to meet with the office on Friday afternoon but canceled the meeting minutes before it began.

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In order to qualify as an official party for the purposes of ballot access, a party must collect a minimum number of signatures equal to one and one-third percent of the total votes cast for the governor in the last election for the post of governor. governor of the state. Based on the vote count from the last governor’s race in 2018, that number is currently set at 31,686.

As part of his efforts to gain access to the ballots, Patriot Party figure Daniel McCarthy recorded robocalls that began going out in early November, according to the Yellow Sheet Report, a political insider publication. by subscription only. Jason Tsinnijinnie, a paid petitioner for the campaign, said he was paid $ 8 per signature. Several people on social media said some petitioners were paid up to $ 12 per signature.

Since its inception, the Patriot Party, made up largely of former Republicans and espousing various conservative messages, has been at odds with the Arizona GOP. And McCarthy, who ran for the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate in 2020, sharply criticized the party in an interview with the Arizona mirror. But he said the party’s goal in trying to get the ballot was not to siphon off votes from Republicans. Rather, it was about having access to other aspects of the electoral system that is only available to recognized political parties.

Official political parties may appoint observers at polling stations and ballot counting centers during elections. They participate in logic and precision tests for the ballot tabulation machines before the elections, and participate in the partial manual counting of the ballots after the elections. And they recommend lists of people that election officials use to select election officials, said Megan Gilbertson, spokesperson for the Maricopa County Elections Department.

“I think the confusion with the public is that our desire as a party is purely to have access to and oversee the voting process and the voting process, as well as the mechanics of the voting process,” McCarthy said. “The Patriot Party, obviously our will is not to divide the vote of the Republican Party. Our desire is purely to work with the county registrar’s offices so that we can have access to the ballot process and the voting process. “

McCarthy said the Patriot Party’s desire to participate in the electoral process is based on concerns about election rigging and fraud by the Democratic and Republican parties. He and other figures in the Patriot Party have long promoted the false and disproved allegations of fraud that stem from the 2020 presidential election.

Daniels said the Arizona GOP was pushing a “false narrative” that the Patriot Party was trying to divide the Republican vote. But that is not the party’s intention, he said, and as “avowed conservatives” Daniels has said it would not be a wise thing to do.

“Really, our main objective is not to present candidates under the banner of the Patriot Party, but to really ensure the integrity of the elections, among other things. Our mission statement as the Arizona Patriot Party is to restore and maintain conservative constitutional leadership in Arizona, ”said Daniels. “Our main goal is to be accountable to the Republican Party and push them in the right direction when we see them not working the way they should be.”

Daniels also said the Patriot Party is examining whether there are ways for the party to have observers at polling stations and in the compilation rooms of county polling centers. Gilbertson said this is only available to officially recognized parties whose members are qualified to appear on the ballot.

Friday’s missed meeting means the Patriot Party will have to wait two years to try again because Friday was the deadline to qualify for ballot access in 2022. State law sets the deadline at 250 days before the vote. primary election, which is August 2. Only the Democratic, Libertarian and Republican parties will qualify for statewide ballot access.

If the Patriote Party had qualified for access to the ballot, it would have had the right to appear on the ballot for the next two general elections. After that, a party can maintain its access to the ballot by securing at least 5% of the vote for governor or president, or resubmitting petitions to qualify.

“We will be an established party for the near future,” Daniels said.

This story has been updated to include comments from Patriot Party Chairman Steve Daniels.