Arizona Secretary of State Debate

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Secretary of State candidates Mark Finchem (R) and Adrian Fontes (D) participated in a half-hour Clean Elections debate about why their campaigns are the best for the state. The debate is moderated by host Ted Simons and co-host Richard Ruelas.

“Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you tonight. I’m running for Secretary of State to restore honor, to restore integrity, to restore security to the Secretary of State’s office,” Finchem said in his opening statement.

Adrian Fontes opened with a defintion of what democracy is and how it can survive, and how he is a father of three young women who deserve the freedom to make their own choices and decisions.

As Secretary of State, would Finchem have signed off on the 2020 Election Results?

“There are too many hypotheticals to really answer that question because we didn’t know what we knew after the election until after the certification of the canvas occurred,” Finchem said. “But knowing what we know today, there are certain counties that should have been set aside as irredeemably compromised.”

Finchem explained that in Yuma county, there was ballot harvesting and votes. There were people that plead guilty, which altered the outcome of that specific county, according to Finchem.

“I think what we have to look at here is the common value that we share, and that is that we have to have faith in our democracy. And our democracy really rests on the decisions that thousands of people make, Republicans and Democrats alike, who did the work of elections,” Fontes said. “When we have conspiracy theories and lies, like the ones Mr. Finchem has just shared based in no real evidence, what we end up doing is eroding the faith we have in each other as citizens.”

PolitiFact: Finchem on ballot harvesting

According to Finchem, there were many illegal votes in the 2020 election through ballot harvesting. Ballot harvesting isn’t an official legal term, but it generally refers to someone collecting absentee ballots on behalf of others and then submitting them.

Finchem said that ballot harvesting in Yuma County “altered the outcome” in the August 2020 primary.

In fact checking this claim, PolitiFact notes that according to court filings, the number of ballots in question was no more than five. The smallest winning margin was 392. Those ballots could not have had any impact on the outcome.

Secretary of State candidates Mark Finchem (R) and Adrian Fontes (D)

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