Sec. of State Adrian Fontes wants bipartisanship for Arizonans; aims to tackle disinformation

The former Maricopa County recorder says he is ready to preserve the integrity of our elections, even as he says that democracy has been under attack for years.
Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 10:14 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Democrat Adrian Fontes won the top elections post last year, and this week, he was officially sworn into office.

Fontes defeated Republican rival Mark Finchem, who attended the Jan. 6 rally, and also said he would not have certified Joe Biden’s win in the state. The secretary of state’s office has big responsibilities, working with the governor and attorney general, and has broad authority to rewrite the state’s election rules while also playing a role in the certification of results.

So what are the biggest challenges that face his office, especially in the midst of rising political tensions, and seemingly endless bouts of election misinformation? Fontes says there are two particular issues of note: “the lies, and the nonsense,” and the lack of experienced election officials.

Arizona’s Family asked about some problems that were faced in our state during our latest election cycle. Some of the most notable ones in happened Pinal County, where there weren’t enough ballots printed or the issues at dozens of voting centers in Maricopa County.

When asked how Fontes, a Democrat, will work with the state’s 15 counties, many of which are under Republican leadership. “You focus on the data, you focus on the work, you focus on serving the public,” he said. “There are so many more things we agree on than we disagree on.”

Fontes is a former Marine and local prosecutor who staked his campaign on pledges to protect voting rights. He lost his seat as Maricopa County recorder after one term to a Republican in 2020.