Fontes May Face Lawsuit For Violating Federal Law With Dirty Voter Rolls

August 10, 2023

By Corinne Murdock |

The secretary of state may face a lawsuit come November if he fails to clean up alleged dirty voter rolls in 14 counties.

In a letter submitted Tuesday, Arizona Free Enterprise Club President and Executive Director Scott Mussi — in his capacity as a voter — accused Secretary of State Adrian Fontes of not following Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

The pre-litigation letter alleged that four Arizona counties reported having more voters than voting-age adult citizens, per public voter registration records compared with Census Bureau data. These were identified as Apache County with 117.4 percent voter registration rate, La Paz County with 100.5 percent voter registration rate, Navajo County with 100.1 percent voter registration rate, and Santa Cruz County with 112.6 percent voter registration rate. 

The letter also alleged that nine counties have voter registration rates exceeding 90 percent of adult citizens over 18 years old, and one county with its voter registration rate exceeding 80 percent, which outpace national voter registration rates in recent years. These counties were identified as Cochise (93.4 percent), Coconino (93.6 percent), Gila (90.6 percent), Maricopa (97.8 percent), Mohave (95.2 percent), Pima (92 percent), Pinal (91.8 percent), Yavapai (99 percent), Yuma (94.3 percent), and Graham Counties (81.1 percent). 

The national voter registration rate sits at around 69.1 percent, per the Census Bureau. In Arizona, those rates were 76.4 percent in 2020 and 68.6 percent in 2018.

As of last month, there were nearly 4.2 million registered voters. Independent voters lead with 1.45 million registrants (34.5 percent), followed by Republicans with 1.44 million (34.4 percent), Democrats with 1.26 million (30 percent), Libertarians with 33,700 (0.8 percent), and No Labels members with 8,500 (0.2 percent).

“Discrepancies on this scale almost certainly cannot be attributed to above-average voter participation, but instead point to deficient list maintenance,” stated the letter. 

The letter requested that Fontes modify the current list maintenance procedures to identify and remove individuals who are ineligible to vote due to a change in residence, incarceration, death, or those ineligible for other reasons.  

Arizona voters weren’t alone in this endeavor. Also on Tuesday, Virginia voters filed a similar pre-litigation letter accusing the Virginia Commissioner of Elections Susan Beals of similar NVRA negligence across 101 counties. The Honest Elections Project (HEP) assisted both Arizona and Virginia voters in their pre-litigation notices. The voters gave their respective election leaders 90 days to comply with the NVRA, and 45 days to respond to the letter. 

The requested response would include details of the NVRA compliance efforts, policies, and programs Fontes has taken or plans to take prior to the 2024 general election, along with complete timelines and results for any ongoing plans. 

In a press release, Mussi said that it wasn’t only Fontes but the former secretary of state Katie Hobbs, now governor, which were to blame for the dirty voter rolls.

“It is apparent that Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and his predecessor have failed to perform the necessary voter list maintenance required by state and federal law,” said Mussi. “Clean and accurate voter rolls are a cornerstone to safe and secure elections, and we expect that our election officials will address these issues as quickly as possible.” 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to

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