PHOENIX — Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes is under intense scrutiny after a news report revealed Friday that an undisclosed ‘computer glitch’ in his office put nearly 2,000 Arizonans at risk of not receiving early-voting ballots.
Fontes, a Democrat, was elected to his position in 2016 after running on a campaign platform of “rebuilding trust in the election system.”
But, for the more than 1,900 Arizonans affected, Fontes’ campaign pledge isn’t living up.
“Almost 2,000 independent voters nearly did not receive early ballots — and more than 750 are still at risk of not getting an early ballot — because of a computer glitch on the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office website,” the Arizona Republic reported in a front-page story.
The County Recorder’s system failed to ask independent voters which party ballot they would like: Republican, Democrat Party, or Green. Those voters have to resolve the issue and request another, proper ballot. “If they do not do so before Aug. 17, they will likely not receive an early ballot,” the newspaper continued.
The controversy was covered during ABC 15’s nightly newscast, which noted that the “ballot blunder” has left more than 750 voters still at risk. “If it stays that way, depending on the race, results could be affected,” anchor Steve Irvin explained. KTAR also covered the controversy on-air throughout Friday evening.
Fontes is a lawyer by trade. While running for office, the Democrat politicized similar ballot-box problems, painting them as deliberate attempts by his opponent — then-Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell — to suppress the vote.
“This wasn’t just an inconvenience,” Fontes told the liberal magazine Mother Jones, referring to long lines on Election Day. “This was a deterrent, an intentional deterrent to keep people from voting.”
The Democrat used a taxpayer-funded committee hearing to promote his campaign that March, unexpectedly telling the attendees that he had “decided that I was going to run.”
“Hold on. Don’t take my time,” he snapped at members of the audience who were making noises. “I will tell you right now that I do not want Helen Purcell to resign. I want to beat her at the ballot box … At ElectFontes(dot)com, you can get more information.”
Fontes came under fire earlier this year for telling a constituent and candidate for office to “go F-yourself” on social media, adding, “By the way, is your Mom also running your campaign?”
The Democrat responded afterward that “I would like to move on” from the controversy.