AZ Secretary of State Fontes discusses election administration, preparations for 2024
Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes joined Arizona Horizon to discuss the loss of experienced election administrators, preparations for the 2024 elections and more.
“Well, first and foremost, we have to understand that our elections are just around the corner,” Fontes said. “We are way less than, I think, we’re about nine months from the presidential preference election in mid-March next year. That means 2024 is upon us. We’ve got to start working now to recruit the right folks, to train them well so that we can get them certified,” Fontes said.
Fontes’ office negotiated a budget of $4.2 million plus $3 million of money that is already spent needs to be appropriated by the legislature.
The biggest need for the Secretary of State’s office is the need for people. Fontes said his office has been severely understaffed for a number of years.
“Last year, the Brennan Center for Justice put out a report that talked about one in six election workers really being impacted by, sort of the disinformation and a lot of the threats and things like that,” Fontes said. “It’s down to one in three now. We’ve got a real problem nationally, and it’s really hit close to home in Arizona. A lot of folks in election administration positions who’ve been there for a long time, they didn’t buy in for this. They got into these jobs because they just wanted to serve the public,” he said.
Fontes said his priorities are based on data. He said security is a high-priority. “We wanted 24/7 security when we had a live threat,” he said. “What we’ve actually asked for is an appropriation that will allow law enforcement to determine what security I need, my family needs and other folks in the office need, and then they can deploy those security resources as necessary. We never asked for 24/7 all the time. But what we do want to do is make sure that we can get the job done.”