Maricopa County's incoming elections chief says local leaders should prepare to shell out more money if they want to fix the problems that were at the polls this year.
Adrian Fontes, the Democratic candidate who ousted Republican Helen Purcell in the Maricopa County Recorder's race, said Wednesday that he's got a plan to run better elections, but it can't be done on the cheap.
And when asked if he plans to ask the Republican-controlled Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for more money when he takes office next year he said, "Right now I'd say probably."
Fontes says the office needs better equipment, more training and more staff.
"Yeah, you got to be frugal but only to the things that are not important. This is important," Fontes said. "This is critical. This is not cloth napkins versus paper napkins at the annual picnic. This is the American voters' voice. You cannot do that on the cheap."
The County Recorder's Office has taken a lot of heat this year over the way it handled elections.
It started during the Presidential Preference Election in March when some voters waited up to five hours in line to cast ballots.
[SPECIAL SECTION: Maricopa County's Presidential Preference Election problems]
At the time, Purcell's office drastically cut the number of polling locations as a way to save money.
The move backfired, leading to the election night fiasco that played a big part in Purcell's defeat.
Fontes also said he plans on conducting a national search for a new elections director.
That hire will be critical to his success since Fontes has no experience running elections, especially for one of the largest counties in the nation with over two million registered voters.
"This is going to require the best talent that exists out there and there are professionals across the country who deal with these sorts of things," Fontes said.
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