By Daniel Stefanski |
The Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) gained a significant victory this week over Democrat Secretary of State Adrian Fontes.
On Monday, the AZGOP announced that the ‘Patriot Party’ “failed to secure enough valid signatures to qualify for the 2024 ballot,” crediting the “unwavering dedication of over 50 volunteers who…meticulously reviewed over 37,000 signatures by hand.”
This update came days after the Party had issued a press release to accuse Fontes of “misusing his office to influence elections.”
In that communication, the AZGOP explained that the “Liberal Democrat Adrian Fontes quietly and drastically changed his procedures on political party petition filings and denied observer access and public records requests by the Arizona Republican Party.” According to the AZGOP, this occurred when Secretary Fontes allegedly failed “to notify the political parties with ballot access that an appointment had been made by the ‘Patriot Party’ to file signatures on their Petition for Political Party recognition.”
In their release, the AZGOP asserted that Fontes’ actions with the ‘Patriot Party’ filing was “a big departure from what (he) did when ‘No Labels’ filed,” adding that the Secretary’s motivation in running his office is “to help the Democrat Party and hamper (Arizona Republicans).”
The AZGOP outlined the process by which Secretary Fontes “conducted the No Labels filing,” which included the following steps:
- The Democrat, Republican, and Libertarian parties of Arizona were informed about the filing appointment ahead of time.
- All three recognized political parties were permitted to have observers present for the entire intake and SOS scanning of petitions with full observer coverage for chain of custody transition.
- The scans of the petitions, as filed, prior to SOS processing, were made available the morning after filing through a secure fileshare provided by SOS.
- The fileshare to which counties upload their processed samples was made available to all recognized political parties so that they could follow the filing process throughout.
As the release concluded, the AZGOP demanded that Secretary Fontes “restore the long history of impartiality that existed in the SOS’s office under Secretary Reagan, Secretary Bennett, Secretary Brewer and others.” The party asked for the Secretary of State’s Office to “fulfill (their) public records requests in a timely manner and maintain a fair and unbiased process for all filings made in (the) office.”
The AZGOP threatened Fontes with litigation if he were to “move to validate (the ‘Patriot Party’) as (an actual party) regardless in a partisan effort to hamper the Republican Party. That threat appears to be neutralized thanks to the State Republican Party’s hard work to go through the signatures itself.
With the saga of the petition signatures moving to the rearview window, the AZGOP is focusing on an extremely important election season in 2024, boasting of a “grassroots army of over 5,500 precinct committeemen in Arizona, combined with an additional 20,000 party volunteers.” The AZGOP noted that Arizona Republicans are “united in our mission to register more voters, champion family values, strengthen the economy, and advocate for better educational outcomes and parental choice.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.