2 Democrats running for Arizona secretary of state highlight different experience

Democrats Adrian Fontes and Reginald Bolding are each battling for a nomination in one of the state's top races.
Published: Jul. 11, 2022 at 6:54 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Given the attention on how elections are handled and who oversees them, the race for secretary of state is one of the top contests to watch this year. There are two Democrats battling for their party’s nomination in a race that could come down to what kind of experience voters are looking for. Reginald Bolding is the highest-ranking Democrat in the state House and knows the inner workings of the Legislature after serving eight years at the Capitol. Adrian Fontes was the top election official for Maricopa County. Elected as the county recorder in 2016, he served one term before narrowly losing in 2020 and likes to point out his experience running elections. “I’m the only candidate on either side of the aisle that has actually done this and can ask the right questions,” Fontes said during a recent debate broadcasted statewide on PBS.

Knowledge of running elections is important, but the secretary of state, the second-highest elected state office in Arizona, plays a different role. The office oversees and certifies elections and it does not run them like the counties do. Bolding says it’s critical that the next secretary of state can navigate the Legislature. “You need someone who understands that process, and for me, I will be fighting for ways to get laws in place that allow for more access to the ballot. We must have safe and secure elections,” Bolding told Arizona’s Family.

Fontes has also promised to work with state lawmakers to expand access to voting if elected. Both Democrats vowed to restore public confidence with voters who still falsely believe the 2020 election was rigged or stolen.

There are plenty of similarities on election policies between Fontes and Bolding, but one area of difference is a proposal to post images of ballots online. Bolding opposes the idea, saying it would overburden county election officials. Fontes, on the other hand, says it could be another way to help boost confidence in elections. “It’s a pretty good idea if an individual voter can go and count their own precincts ballots by looking at the actual images ... we could have a lot more confidence in these elections,” Fontes said during an appearance on Arizona Family’s Politics Unplugged.