Just days ago we posted what turned out to be a tip-of-the-iceberg article about the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, advising, “Keep your eye on the Maricopa Recorder’s Office.” Little did we realize how prophetic that warning would be.
Newly elected Adrian Fontes is the first Democrat to hold that important, but under the radar, office in decades. And he’s wasting no time politicizing it. That was never the case as longtime Maricopa County Recorder, Helen Purcell, a Republican, and Elections Director Karen Osborne, a Democrat, interacted in a trustworthy manner without interjecting a partisan agenda.
Those days are gone. Right out of the hatch, Fontes, who won by a single percentage point, made it clear he intended to mandate mail-in ballots in time for the 2018 statewide elections — eliminating polling places, poll workers and security.
Fontes is now claiming that eligible voters may have been denied the right to vote because their forms were missing proof of citizenship such as a passport, birth certificate, naturalization number, tribal ID or a driver’s license. In an attempt to verify those he alleges have been disenfranchised, he’s hired nine additional staffers to perform extra research in the motor-vehicle system to verify citizenship and add eligible applicants to the voter rolls. He has since significantly downgraded the inflated numbers of supposedly disenfranchised voters he originally reported.
Comporting himself more like a street thug than an officeholder Adrian Fontes is reported to have said he’s itching for a court fight. ”They can bring it,” he said. “I’m not interested in the status quo, I’m interested in doing what’s right.” Asked if that meant going against state statute, he countered with, ’That’s what they said during slavery.”
It’s not difficult to see where this is going. The leftist ACLU has already jumped aboard this out-of-control train. If Fontes seeks to change the law, the state legislature is the route to take.
Proposition 200, the “Arizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act,” passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2004, requires proof of citizenship and presentation of a photo ID at a polling place in order to vote — along with proof of eligibility to receive taxpayer funded benefits. With nonexistent polling places count on the vultures swooping in to pick over the bones of the law.
Joe Kanefield, an attorney who was the state elections director in the Secretary of State’s Office when Proposition 200 was passed says, “The statute seems pretty clear cut to me. If a voter registration form is received and does not contain evidence of citizenship, the registrar shall reject it.”
According to the local newspaper, Fontes is the only Arizona county recorder not rejecting state issued voter applications lacking proof of citizenship. His actions should raise concerns. He countered by stating “What we’re doing is not illegal. If you read the entire statute, and you take it in context, I’m doing exactly what I should be doing. And that’s enabling U.S. citizens to vote.”
Others view the grand scheme differently, expressing concerns about ballot security, including ballot harvesting, and coercion. There is also the real problem of non-citizen participation in our elections.
The guarantee of secure elections is a fundamental expectation of each and every voting citizen. We should accept nothing less. Registering online, receiving a ballot in the mail — regardless of whether it was requested by the voter — voting it at your kitchen table and returning it by mail, removes oversight and opens the entire process to fraud.
Fontes indicates that any voter who is eligible to vote in local elections — though they’ve never previously requested or received a mail-in ballot need not do anything to participate. All registered voters will automatically receive a ballot.
March 2016, Seeing Red AZ posted How secure is your mail-in ballot? It included several links that expose the very real crimes associated with voter fraud — including ballot harvesting.
Last November, just days before the presidential election, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated Arizona’s ban on ballot harvesting. Read more in SCOTUS blog.