Politics Republicans want Pentagon to allow permit for annual veterans motorcycle ride
Firm recounting Arizona ballots wants methods kept secret
PHOENIX (AP) — A contractor hired by Arizona's state Senate to oversee the recount of 2.1 million ballots from November's election in the county that includes the metro Phoenix area wants a judge to keep secret its methods for ensuring ballot privacy. The request came in advance of a hearing set for Monday morning where a judge planned to review policies and procedures for ensuring voter privacy and ballot secrecy that the Senate and contractor Cyber Ninjas are using in the Maricopa County recount.
House and Senate lawmakers called on the Defense Department Wednesday to reconsider its decision against allowing military veterans to engage in their annual Memorial Day weekend motorcycle ride in the nation’s capital.
The event has long aimed to raise awareness for American prisoners of war as well as veteran suicide.
“As a biker and a veteran, I’m saddened by this decision. I hope the Pentagon will hear the voices of the thousands of my fellow veterans who partake in this annual tradition and reconsider,” Sen. Joni Ernst, an Iowa Republican and co-chair of the bipartisan Senate Motorcycle Caucus, told the Washington Examiner in a statement.
Judge has doubts on voter privacy in Arizona recount
PHOENIX (AP) — A judge hearing a challenge to voter privacy policies during the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate's recount of 2.1 million 2020 election ballots in the county that includes metro Phoenix said Tuesday he is not convinced voter secrecy is being upheld. The comment from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin came at the end of a lengthy hearing where he also declined to extend a previous judge's order that auditorsThe comment from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin came at the end of a lengthy hearing where he also declined to extend a previous judge's order that auditors hired by the Senate comply with state voter privacy laws -- at least until he hears more at a hearing on W
Rep. Troy Balderson, an Ohio Republican and member of the House Motorcycle Caucus, told the Washington Examiner, “I am deeply disappointed by the Pentagon’s decision to refuse a venue for our veterans. This safe, outdoor event is intended to honor our nation’s past and present servicemembers.”
For nearly 30 years, motorcyclists met up at the Pentagon’s parking lot for the yearly ride through the district along the National Mall. But the Defense Department last Friday rejected the organization’s permit application, claiming the massive size of the crowd violated COVID-19 safety regulations.
Rep. Don Bacon, a Nebraska Republican and member of the Motorcycle Caucus, called the Pentagon’s decision to disapprove the permit “wrong.”
Judge won't block Arizona Senate's 2020 election recount
PHOENIX (AP) — A judge on Wednesday refused to shut down the Republican-led Arizona Senate's recount of 2.1 million ballots from the 2020 election in the state's most populous county but ordered ballot secrecy and voter privacy procedures its contractor is using be made public. The decision by Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Daniel Martin was both a loss and a win for the Arizona Democratic Party, whose lawyers argued the secrecy sought by the Senate put voter privacy at risk.
“As a veteran and a Harley rider, I know how beloved this event is to many. As more Americans are becoming vaccinated, there should be no reason we can’t gather for activities and in particular outside events,” he said.
AMVETS, a national veterans group, applied for an event permit one year ago, according to Joe Chenelly, national executive director of the organization. Chenelly told the Washington Examiner the Department of Defense told his organization that the DOD was monitoring the spread of COVID-19 in the Arlington County area.
The thousands of riders planning to attend the event raised a flag for the DOD, which concluded organizers would not be able to enforce COVID-19 social distancing protocols in the Pentagon parking lot that is located outside. Throughout the year, AMVETS repeatedly asked DOD officials for an opportunity to address its concerns about the event.
Arizona elections chief criticizes policies used in recount
PHOENIX (AP) — In March, when it was clear that the Republican-controlled Arizona Senate planned to recount presidential votes in the state's most populous county, Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sent a letter urging the Senate president to adopt strict guidelines to ensure the results could be trusted. Instead, President Karen Fann farmed out the recount to a supporter of election conspiracy theories with no recount experience who refused to share details of how the count would be done until a court ordered the disclosure and the recount was well underway. That decision and others, including allowing a former state GOP lawmaker who was at the Jan. 6 U.
“We have a team of professional meeting planners. Our guys have had a bunch of events during the pandemic. We think we know how to do it safely, and we wanted a chance to be able to present our plan to them so that they could at least see what we were proposing,” Chenelly told the Washington Examiner. “But they wouldn't give us that audience the entire time. They wouldn't talk to us. All they would say is, ‘We'll tell you when we decide.’”
The Washington Examiner reached out to a Defense Department spokesman for comment but received no response.
The permit denial comes infrom the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases that found at least 649 COVID-19 cases were linked to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in South Dakota from Aug. 7-16, 2020. About 426,000 people attended last year's Sturgis rally.
While Republican lawmakers are public about their support for the Pentagon to grant the permit, only one Democrat’s office told Chenelly he would encourage the Pentagon to engage in open talks with the group.
Virus-sniffing dog, Vegas boom, vaccine hecklers: News from around our 50 states
How the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every stateStart the day smarter. Get all the news you need in your inbox each morning.
“We understand Mark Warner, the senator from Virginia, sent something over to them as well,” Chenelly said.
Despite the setback, AMVETS still plans on holding the popular event on May 30 as it seeks out an alternative plan in Washington, D.C. Another location being considered is the RFK Stadium parking lot, which is smaller than the Pentagon parking lot.
Only a single podium with the microphone will be set up for the event. While a confirmed list of speakers has not been released, Rep. Brian Mast, a Florida Republican, is expected to give remarks at the event. A bipartisan invite list is expected to be sent out.
Tags:, , , , ,
A nursing assistant murdered seven elderly veterans with insulin. Now their families are preparing to confront her. .
A nursing assistant who pleaded guilty to murdering seven veterans at a VA hospital in Clarksburg, West Virginia, could face life imprisonment.https://apnews.