Adrian Fontes is an Arizona native born and raised ion the border in Nogales, Arizona. He graduated from ASU and served 4 years active duty in the Marine Corp. After serving our country he returned to ASU and then to Law school at the University of Denver. He has spent time working for the County Attorney, Attorney General and had a private practice. His reason for running for Maricopa County Recorder came as a result of the last Presidential Preference Election which saw many voters turned away from the polls. He ran and won, defeating longtime Republican incumbent Helen Purcell. He spent the first 8 months traveling the country and learning from experts in elections as well as from the experts within the office. He is working with the team already in place to make some significant improvements. He is in a program of training in elections with Auburn University where he has learned that elections are as diverse as each of the 3,069 counties in the U.S. He reiterated that elections are run at the County level, not the State level. This is a glimpse into what has been happening at the office:
- Re-engagement in re-precincting
- Re-draw justice precincts with accurate maps
- Consider the upcoming census and plan accordingly – Maricopa County is is the fastest growing county in the country.
- Re-adjust and expand current early voting as approx. 97% of the country are early voters, Fontes plans to have kiosks that help people register and then print out their ballot accordingly. Last March there were only 60 voting centers around the valley offering only two check-in lines. At expanded voting centers there will be provisions for 6 lines and a fully trained Deputy Registrar present at each location to deal with any problems or issues and solve them in real time. Where it took 4.5 hours in line with the old system, the new system should have voters through the process in 45 minutes.
The new check-in system will be super easy to use…touch screen technology, ID scan and the appropriate ballot will be printed. The system incorporates curtains of security that will be closely monitored.
This fall for the few elections taking place, the election will be administered 100% mail-in ballot.
The office is looking at new tabulation systems and addition of employees to man those systems in house and he said the technology at central count will suffice until 2018-20 when it will need some updating.
Fontes and 7 of his staff recently attended DEF CON , a computer hacking convention in Las Vegas to learn all they can about cybersecurity from those who successfully can break in to systems. He assured members his office is doing all they can do behind the scenes to make the changes in the Recorder’s office that he was elected to do.
He spoke of the next major initiative in the hiring of a full-time special elections board coordinator. When voters are elderly, cannot get to the polls, in assisted living facilities, hospitals, hospices, veterans comprise 2.2 million voters who can’t vote on their own and need assistance.
Fontes fielded a question about voter fraud. He stated there is no such thing as widespread voter fraud but there is voter fraud, most of it not criminally intended.
In the past election, the system failed. Some voters who mailed in a ballot were able to vote twice. Since 2008 a minute percentage of actual votes cast were fraudulent. There have been 11
Again, he stated, he was elected to bring confidence back to the elections system in Arizona and with foresighted thinking, his office will be doing just that.
Thanks to Adrian Fontes for visiting with us. We were honored to have him.