Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes is supposed to represent all of the voters in Arizona’s most populous county. That’s ALL, as in Republicans and Independents as well as the Democrats who boosted the problematic Fontes into office by a single percentage point. The initial elections he oversaw were unmitigated disasters, featuring widespread problems, long lines and infuriated voters, many of whom were turned away and advised to go to other polling places. Fontes blamed the chaos on “outside contractors” he hired to replace knowledgeable employees.
On the recorder’s website he claims, “We continue to provide the citizens of Maricopa County the finest service possible. To ensure that we stay on the leading edge in our field we continually make changes and we encourage your participation.” Fontes’ deception is mind boggling as he boasts of the pride he takes in the many awards and recognitions “we” have received and that “we are considered by many to be the premier recording office in the country.”
In using the majestic plural known as the “royal we,” Fontes must occasionally dress in drag, since Helen Purcell was initially elected county recorder in 1989 and served nearly four decades, until 2017. The majority of those awards were presented before Fontes ever strolled into the office. Purcell, who knows a thing or two about the duties of overseeing elections, has endorsed eminently qualified Republican Stephen Richer.
Far from an impartial overseer of elections, Fontes recently ran an ad in the local newspaper which most of our readers would miss due to the fact that so few Arizonans continue to subscribe. The ad, which contemptibly oozes blatant partisanship, features a cartoon “ballot” (His cap identifies him as such) wearing glasses, a grin and waving jovially. The bright yellow capitalized words slickly say, “HEY VOTERS! I’m Phil the Ballot (get it?). Did you know only registered Democrats can vote in the Democratic Presidential Preference Election on March 17th? Let’s meet up at BEBallotREADY.vote.” The tag line is, “brought to you by” …featuring official replicas of the seals of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office and Maricopa County, followed by a phone number promising “voice info,” in Spanish and English. Callers are provided detailed instructions regarding how to register to vote in the Democrat primary election.
Arizona is among several states that have cancelled their GOP presidential primaries or caucuses, since incumbent President Donald Trump has no viable challengers. The plan was initiated by the state parties, as has been the case in both parties when an incumbent president is running for reelection.
The actions are not unprecedented. As examples, Arizona Democrats skipped the presidential primary in 2012, when Barack Obama was running for a second term They did the same in 1996 when Bill Clinton was running for reelection.
The question to ask is, “Would leftward skewed partisan Adrian Fontes run ads inviting Republicans to vote in the presidential primary if the circumstances were reversed?” We’d bet the farm that day would never come. His sole concern is registering Democrats.