Election flub has AG Brnovich seething

Attorney General Mark Brnovich gestures Thursday during a news conference regarding next week’s special election. (HOWARD FISCHER/Capitol Media Services)

Attorney General Mark Brnovich gestures Thursday during a news conference regarding next week’s special election. (HOWARD FISCHER/Capitol Media Services)

PHOENIX - Attorney General Mark Brnovich refused today to try to cancel next week's special elections despite foul-ups by Secretary of State Michele Reagan, saying there's nothing in state law to permit that.

At a hastily called press conference, Brnovich unloaded on Reagan for failing to comply with state laws requiring voters to get ballot pamphlets explaining the two issues before they got their actual early ballots. And he said there needs to be an investigation of why Reagan hid that information from the public for so long.

"This was a complete fiasco," Brnovich said. "I don't know what the right word to express it. But it pisses me off, as an Arizonan, as the attorney general."

Brnovich also laid some of the blame on lawmakers for leaving him with his hands tied.

"We know that we want strict compliance with election laws," he said. "But the legislature never provided any penalty."

Neither Reagan nor her press aide immediately returned calls.

Reagan spokesman Matt Roberts conceded earlier this week that at least 200,000 pamphlets explaining Proposition 123 and 124 did not go out on time. The first deals with increased funding for public schools; the second alters constitutional provisions on public pensions.

Robert said he believes the affected households are all outside the two major counties.

The affected homes appear to be those with two people who are on the list to get early ballots. That means more than 400,000 voters could be affected.

Roberts said his boss knew about the problem weeks before it was publicly disclosed. But he said she was doing the best she could in the interim to mail out the pamphlets to those who did not get one.