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Austin Smith drops reelection campaign amid accusations of petition signature fraud

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  evilone  •  one month ago  •  21 comments

By:   Caitlin Sievers (Arizona Mirror)

Austin Smith drops reelection campaign amid accusations of petition signature fraud
GOP state Rep. Austin Smith has dropped his reelection bid after being accused of personally forging more than 100 petition signatures.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


By: Caitlin Sievers- April 18, 2024 11:29 amaustin-smith-azm-1536x864.jpg

Rep. Austin Smith, R-Surprise, on the floor of the Arizona House of Representatives on April 17, 2024. Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

Republican state Rep. Austin Smith has dropped his reelection bid after being accused of personally forging more than 100 petition signatures to get on the 2024 ballot.

And he's facing a possible criminal investigation into his signatures after state elections officials forwarded his petition signatures to the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

Smith is first-term representative from Surprise, a member of Arizona's far-right Arizona Freedom Caucus and a top official at Turning Point Action, the campaign arm of the far-right Turning Point USA, which is aimed at young Republicans and run by Charlie Kirk.

Ironically, Smith is also a member of the House's Municipal Oversight and Elections Committee, where he decried unproven election fraud in Maricopa County, and has even made jokes accusing county officials of mail-in ballot signature fraud on social media.

"Signature verification in Maricopa County is a joke," Smith wrote on Twitter in May 2023.

But Smith's own petition to get on the July 30 Republican primary ballot was filled with more than 100 signatures, along with corresponding addresses, that obviously look like they were all written by the same person. And two of his supposed petition signers told the court, in statements submitted along with a lawsuit challenging his nominating petitions, that they never signed the petition.

Smith announced that he was dropping out of the race on Thursday, just days after the signature challenge was filed by Democratic precinct committeeman Jim Ashurst.

In the announcement, Smith called the allegations against him "ludicrous" and accused Democrats of creating a "coordinated attack" against him with press releases and social media posts about the legal challenge to his candidacy.

"If they could convince a judge that any one signature was forged, all of my signatures would be invalidated and I would get kicked off the ballot," Smith wrote. "And as per Arizona law, I would also be banned from seeking office for five years."

Smith took no accountability for the allegedly fraudulent signatures and said that he didn't want to spend tens of thousands defending himself in the civil elections challenge — as well as a possible criminal case for forgery — because he didn't want that to impact his new wife.

"We have our plans and aspirations, and none of them involve starting out tens of thousands of dollars in debt as a once of being involved in public service," he wrote.

But Republican Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer Tweeted on Thursday that, if the signatures were valid, the county would put out a report saying so, costing Smith nothing.

Smith went on to say that, when he runs for office in the future, he'll exclusively use the online petition signature system, so that "no one can make up any stories."

But while Smith was excoriated by the Arizona Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee, they were not the only ones who went after him for his alleged behavior.

Maricopa County Supervisor Clint Hickman, a Republican, called Smith out in a Thursday statement, saying he should resign his seat in the House of Representatives immediately and calling for an investigation into Smith's signatures.

"An investigation will reveal the truth, but this episode tells us something about those who have spread falsehoods with such ease since the 2020 Election," Hickman wrote. "They can't comprehend that most Americans and Arizonans are honest people. They accuse others of dishonesty so easily because they have no qualms about lying to win a political race or a business deal. Well, I will always tell people the truth… and Austin Smith should leave public service now."

Smith was one of the many Arizona Republicans who claimed that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from former President Donald Trump and says on his campaign site that he was involved in the partisan audit of the race, which never uncovered any fraud.

"What happened on November 3rd, 2020 in Maricopa County continues to be a national disgrace and embarrassment," Smith wrote on his website. "Not only that, Austin believes it was criminal and will fight every day in the State Legislature to hold those responsible to account."

The Arizona Secretary of State, Democrat Adrian Fontes, has already forwarded the allegations of forgery and fraud against Smith to the Attorney General's Office, along with 12 other election petition signature cases.

Shortly after Smith announced he was dropping out of the race, the ADLCC criticized him for his decision not to defend his actions in court.

"Arizona voters deserve the same accountability, transparency, and elections integrity that Smith has long claimed to champion," Democratic Sen. Priya Sundareshan, co-chair of the ADLCC said in a statement.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our website. AP and Getty images may not be republished. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of any other photos and graphics.

caitlin-sievers-scaled-e1662657632194-150x150.jpg Caitlin Sievers

Caitlin joined the Arizona Mirror in 2022 with almost 10 years of experience as a reporter and editor, holding local government leaders accountable from newsrooms across the West and Midwest. She's won statewide awards in Nebraska, Indiana and Wisconsin for reporting, photography and commentary.

Arizona Mirror is part of States Newsroom, the nation's largest state-focused nonprofit news organization.


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evilone
Professor Guide
1  seeder  evilone    one month ago
Ironically, Smith is also a member of the House's Municipal Oversight and Elections Committee, where he decried unproven election fraud in Maricopa County, and has even made jokes accusing county officials of mail-in ballot signature fraud on social media.

At some point we gotta wonder if all these claims of voter fraud from certain people are projections of their own unethical personality?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilone @1    one month ago

It is so easy to prevent it: VOTER ID

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.1.1  seeder  evilone  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1    one month ago

You didn't read the article. 

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilone @1.1.1    one month ago

I know this is about forged petition signatures.

But you asked a question about voter fraud, correct?

You got the definitive answer.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.1.3  seeder  evilone  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.2    one month ago
But you asked a question about voter fraud, correct?

No. I asked a question about the phycological make-up of assholes.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Kavika   replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.2    one month ago

So you didn't read the article, good to know and a cooked republican caught, red handed.

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.5  Vic Eldred  replied to  Kavika @1.1.4    one month ago

I responded to the question.[]

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.6  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilone @1.1.3    one month ago

You said CLAIMS OF VOTER FRAUD.

Why do democrats want the door open for fraud?

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.1.7  seeder  evilone  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.6    one month ago
You said CLAIMS OF VOTER FRAUD.

Are you purposely taking words out of context to derail from the fact Populist right-wingers get caught committing the same sort of crimes they accuse others of?

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.8  Vic Eldred  replied to  evilone @1.1.7    one month ago

How do you get out of this one?

At some point we gotta wonder if all these claims of voter fraud from certain people are projections of their own unethical personality?

Your words.


 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.9  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.8    one month ago

Yes, words that turned out to be prophetic...

 
 
 
Vic Eldred
Professor Principal
1.1.10  Vic Eldred  replied to  JBB @1.1.9    one month ago

Tough week, huh?

 
 
 
JBB
Professor Principal
1.1.11  JBB  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.10    one month ago

No...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.12  Kavika   replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.5    one month ago
I responded to the question.

No, you really didn't. [deleted]

[] It looks like you got caught, again, trying to pull your usual shit.

What did I get caught at, making stuff up, nope. I got it using FACTS, that's kryptonite. LOL

 
 
 
George
Junior Expert
1.1.13  George  replied to  Kavika @1.1.4    one month ago
a cooked republican

Did he run into the cannibals that ate Joes Uncle?

Sorry couldn’t resist.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.1.14  seeder  evilone  replied to  Vic Eldred @1.1.8    one month ago
How do you get out of this one?

[deleted] [] The subject of my first post -

At some point we gotta wonder if all these claims of voter fraud from certain people are projections of their own unethical personality?

is: certain people who make claims of voter fraud.

Parsing that to mean something else is purposefully obtuse and a dishonest means to distract from the article's subject: the psychopathic hypocrisy of Republican Austin Smith.

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.2  seeder  evilone  replied to  evilone @1    one month ago

Not one reply here is on topic. Bring it back people...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Kavika   replied to  evilone @1.2    one month ago

OK

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.3  devangelical  replied to  evilone @1    one month ago

it seems criminal conduct is now a prerequisite for maga politicians...

 
 
 
Hal A. Lujah
Professor Guide
2  Hal A. Lujah    one month ago

I wonder if his new wife is concerned that she married a liar and a cheater.  She is likely his next victim.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1  devangelical  replied to  Hal A. Lujah @2    one month ago

something tells me he probably didn't meet her in church...

 
 

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