State Capitol News
4:59 am
Fri June 20, 2014

Clean Elections Commission Sees Conflicts With Bennett Election Commercial

Because of his impending gubernatorial run, an election commercial featuring Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett gets complicated. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer explains.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett
Credit azcapitoltimes.com


Two years ago thousands of people who had gotten early ballots in the mail instead showed up at the polls. They had to be given provisional ballots which then took days to count and delayed election results. So Bennett, as secretary of state, now wants to use federal voter-education funds to run a TV commercial — featuring him — urging people to mail back their early ballots to avoid a repeat. And he asked the Clean Elections Commission to say that was OK. But, Mitchell Laird, a member of the panel, said it’s not that simple because Bennett also happens to be running this year for governor.

“I think it’s hard to deny that appearing in an ad of this nature improves name recognition and face recognition. And those are certainly benefits in a campaign,” Laird said.

Bennett said he will re-craft the commercial to have less of him in it in hopes of securing the commission’s blessing. But, he insisted his face and voice should be in it, somewhere.

“Well, I’m the chief elections officer. And, I was the face of the whole issue two years ago as Maricopa County was hunkered down and counting ballots, I was the one they had on the news stations,” Bennett said.

But, there is no guarantee the commission will like a revamped commercial any more than what Bennett first proposed.