2022 Debates: Democratic candidates for Arizona Secretary of State

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Tonight: It’s a debate sponsored by Clean Elections, your source for nonpartisan, official election information. Tonight’s debate features the Democratic candidates for Arizona Secretary of State. This is not a formal debate, it’s an open exchange of ideas, an opportunity for give and take between candidates. Interjections and even interruptions are allowed, provided that all sides get a fair shake.

Adrian Fontes, the former County Recorder for Maricopa County, and Reginald Bolding, the current house minority leader are both Democrats vying for the Arizona Secretary of State. They discussed a variety of issues, including election integrity.

What improvements would you bring in the office of Secretary of State?

Bolding: “So what I’m going to use is my experience as an educator, to make sure that every single classroom that has high school students that are ready for graduation, that they have the ability to get registered to vote upon graduation if they want to.”

Fontes: “We’ve got to make sure that we have an election training manual that is approachable by the general public so we can all see what the rules of the game are for the administration of elections in Arizona… We’ve also got to improve information technology and security systems.”

What other improvements are needed or is the Secretary of State office fine the way it is now?

Bolding: “For everyday Arizonans, the [election] system is much too difficult for them and we need to make it a simple easy click for them to actually go through that process.”

Fontes: “We need to use the infrastructures that exist, like our public library systems all over the state. These are critically important to the function of a free and fair democracy.”

Does Arizona’s election process need reforming?

Bolding: “We know our vote by mail process is one of the strongest in the nation. We have been voting by mail for over 30 years, and what we’ve seen from this last election cycle, is that people for partisan gain have decided to say that our system is not working… Any system needs reforming. If you’re not trying to improve your system every single day then you’re not trying to do what’s in the best interest of Arizona.”

Fontes: “I think that’s right. But the reforms have to be listed out for folks to understand. We need to have vote centers across the entire state so anyone can vote anywhere. We need to have valid tracking system like we implemented in Maricopa County. So that if you vote by mail for example, you get a text message when your ballot is being mailed to you and when it gets returned to the election department, improving confidence folks have that their ballot will be counted.”


Adrian Fontes, (D) AZ Secretary of State candidate
Reginald Bolding, (D) AZ Secretary of State candidate

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