adrian fontes
Fontes Pledges To Be More Assertive Against Misinformation For 2024 Election

January 16, 2024

By Corinne Murdock |

Secretary of State Adrian Fontes pledged to have his office take a more assertive posture against misinformation for the 2024 election. 

Fontes made the promise during an interview with 12 News on Sunday. The secretary of state said that his office would even take on the speech of other elected officials, if need be. 

“You’re going to see a much more assertive attitude against folks who are lying about elections,” said Fontes. “What they’re doing is creating mistrust between regular citizens where there shouldn’t be any. None of the allegations about fraud, none of the Big Lie has been proven true.”

Fontes didn’t deny that his office may take legal action against perceived misinformation. As an example of the type of misinformation his office would target, Fontes said that Arizona voters use paper ballots — not voting machines — to cast their vote. 

“We’re not going to play the role of victim. What we’re going to do is come right out and speak directly to the voters,” said Fontes. “When somebody says, ‘Well, you’ve got a problem with voting machines in Arizona.’ Well, guess what, we don’t have voting machines in Arizona. We vote on paper ballots; every ballot in Arizona has always been cast on paper ballots. You saying ‘voting machines’ is a lie. That’s the kind of assertiveness we’re going to have in our communications strategy.”

Technically, “voting machines” are those pieces of equipment that record votes electronically without paper. Arizona doesn’t have voting machines, but it does have equipment to tabulate votes, which are cast by paper ballot. 

Since taking office, Fontes has pledged to combat mis- and disinformation. Fontes declared that election disinformation amounted to “terrorism” and the individuals behind the rhetoric were “fascists” in an interview with MSNBC shortly after being sworn into office. Fontes urged the public to “attack” the election disinformation.

“These new American fascists, these MAGA fascists — you call them denialists, they are fascists — we need to call them who they are,” said Fontes. “We’ve got to stop pretending that their feelings matter. These are people who are threatening the lives of our neighbors, our family members, and they’re threatening the health of our democracy.”

Fontes’ predecessor, now Gov. Katie Hobbs, also took an assertive posture against misinformation regarding elections. Hobbs coordinated with the Center for Internet Security (CIS), a government-funded organization, to censor online speech concerning the 2020 election.

Hobbs’ former chief of staff, Allie Bones, told reporters around the time of Hobbs’ inauguration that it was the job of governments to remove disinformation from the public square. 

Hobbs was one among many government officials that coordinated with social media companies to suppress and censor speech on major public issues. Last fall, the Supreme Court agreed to take up a case concerning this coordination, Murthy v. Missouri. The court also granted a request from the Biden administration to block a lower court’s order preventing government officials from communicating with social media companies regarding content moderation policies. 

Hobbs’ actions inspired the creation of a new ad hoc committee in the state legislature to review government officials’ relationships with social media companies. That House Ad Hoc Committee on Oversight, Accountability, and Big Tech convened three times in September, October, and December. 

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

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