Dangerous Dance

Ominous storm clouds threaten to trample the Constitution and turn our republic into a theocracy.

Naturally, the sheriff's office has refused to comment.

It's clear that Arpaio is livid that any attention has been brought to this troubling arrangement that allows the sheriff's office to play a central role in the preparation of early ballots.

Arpaio collected 55,000 early votes in the September primary compared to challenger Dan Saban's 36,000. The 91,000 early votes cast in the sheriff's race greatly exceeded the total early votes cast in all other countywide races.

The assessor's, recorder's and treasurer's races each received about 78,000 early votes. The hotly contested county attorney's race attracted only 79,000 early votes. Popular U.S. Senator John McCain picked up only 80,000 early votes running unopposed.

It's curious that the sheriff's race would attract so much more attention.

The 45 inmates handling the ballots had all volunteered for the sheriff's six-month ALPHA program, which provides drug and alcohol training courses and gives eligible inmates the opportunity to earn their GEDs. Successful completion of ALPHA can also lead to early release and class certificates required to meet probation.

Inmates say they were forced to work on the early ballots -- sometimes up to 12 hours at a time -- or be kicked out of ALPHA.

The day before the rest of the inmates not involved in the ballot tampering were to graduate and move forward with their lives, the ever-vengeful Arpaio kicked all of them out of ALPHA.

No early release. No certificates. No GED.

Now that's the kind of Republican we all know and love.

E-mail john.dougherty@newtimes.com, or call 602-229-8445.

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