(This article has been updated to include comments received from Matt Roberts, communication director for the Arizona’s secretary of state’s office, that were received by The Western Journal after publication. — Ed. note)
Online ads paid for by the state of Arizona encouraging people to register to vote are showing up in Mexico.
While there may be some good explanations for that, also troubling is that Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan appears prominently in the ad, despite that fact she will be on the ballot herself in the fall.
A registered Arizona voter spending time in Mexico noticed the ad pop up on his computer, along with other local ads, indicating the ad providers clearly recognized the computer’s IP address was outside the country.
Having knowledge in online ad placement, the man questioned why the state of Arizona should be paying for any ads to run outside the United States, when it is easy to set the parameters to only deliver the content inside of the country.
Specialists in the advertising department at Liftable Media Inc., The Western Journal’s parent company, confirmed that the state could geo-target the ads to run only in the U.S.
They explained the reason the ads are being served outside the country may have to do with tracking “cookies” on the device itself, showing the user having an interest in Arizona politics or other related topics. The cookies can also show the user spends a significant amount of time in Arizona.
The secretary of state’s office told The Western Journal it is not seeking to have the ads run south of the border.
“We are not specifically targeting people in Mexico,” Reagan’s communications director Matt Roberts said. “All of the spots are limited to Arizona.”
He offered a similar explanation as Liftable Media’s specialists, saying the targeting is “interest based.”
As to the issue of Reagan appearing so prominently in the ad, Roberts stated, “Promoting voter registration is an important part of the job and the Secretary, along with her Voting Rights Ambassadors and Elections staff will continue to do so throughout her entire term.”
“That said, I imagine the content might change when the Secretary actually gets on the ballot as it has in the past,” he added.
A prominent Arizona GOP consultant, who requested not to be named, said “I think there is a way to promote voter registration and participation that’s clearly not promotion of the secretary of state.”
“The focus should be on getting new voters registered, not promoting the failing incumbent,” he further stated.
After a troubled first term in office, Reagan appears vulnerable as she faces re-election in the fall.
The Arizona Republic reported that a poll released last summer had Reagan’s favorability rating at 17 percent.
Some high profile snafus during her tenure include up to half a million voter pamphlets not being distributed in time for a May 2016 special election and limited polling places being available for the March 2016 presidential primary, which translated into very long lines.
Reagan reportedly will be challenged for the Republican nomination, and multiple candidates are running to oppose her on the Democrat ticket, which makes the use of tax dollars in the ads all the more unseemly.
Among the candidates mentioned on the Republican side are former state senator and current Republican national committeewomen Lori Klein Corbin and businessman Steve Gaynor.
The secretary of state’s office confirmed Corbin has begun gathering the needed signatures for her name to appear on the ballot. In addition, a consultant active in Arizona politics said Corbin had recently attended a Maricopa County Republican Committee meeting and made clear she was a candidate.
As reported by The Western Journal, Reagan was one of the secretaries of state that refused to participate in President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity.
Randy De Soto is The Western Journal’s senior staff writer.
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