By Corinne Murdock |
Former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes declared that Arizona should eliminate its voting precincts and adopt all-mail voting.
Fontes proposed the ideas during a half-hour debate with House Minority Leader Reginald Bolding (D-Laveen) hosted by Arizona Horizon on Wednesday.
“We need to have vote centers across the entire state so anyone can vote anywhere,” said Fontes. “Do we need reform? The simple answer is yes, but that reform needs to come in a continuation of the progress Arizona has had for 30 years, not stepping backwards like some people want.”
Fontes also proposed that the state should adopt Maricopa County’s ballot tracking system and send voters text messages when mail-in ballots are mailed to the voter and received by the election department.
Bolding appeared to disagree with Fontes.
“One thing I do think is extremely important is that we have to provide Arizonans with choices. And we have to make sure that we have free, fair, and secure elections,” said Bolding. “We have to make sure our systems are working for everybody.”
That wasn’t to say that Bolding disagreed with mail-in voting. Bolding insisted that vote-by-mail is secure, and that Arizona is a prime example of that fact.
Fontes responded that his proposal for vote centers would still provide options for those who want to vote in-person rather than by mail. He insinuated that Bolding didn’t understand all-mail voting because he lacked the election administration experience.
“It’s very clear to folks with the experience in these offices that when we say ‘all ballot by mail’ we have to have an option for replacing messed-up ballots, ballots that folks want to change, for example: they can bring them in, turn them in, and get new ballots,” said Fontes.
Bolding pledged to register high school seniors to vote as soon as they turned 18 and improve the state’s lobbyist database. He said that partisanship has reached an “all-time high” in the state and country.
Fontes pledged to publish an easy-to-read elections procedures manual, reduce red tape for small business development such as registries of trademarks and notary public procedures, increase public communications, and improve information technology security systems.
Bolding argued that the current elections process was too complicated for most Arizonans to understand. Fontes agreed.
Fontes claimed that his administration executed a secure election that defeated former President Donald Trump’s “Big Lie” that the 2020 election was rigged to ensure President Joe Biden’s victory.