Arizona Has Earned A Reputation For Mismanaged Elections

katie hobbs
Katie Hobbs frequently mocks Arizona voters who question the integrity of the election process. [Photo via AZ Secretary of State social media]

The Arizona Secretary of State’s primary responsibility is the oversight and administration of secure and accurate elections.  Democrat Katie Hobbs failed us in that position both in 2022 and before that in 2020.  Nevertheless, she will soon be sworn in as our governor.

The recent election resulted in tabulators that malfunctioned at election sites throughout Maricopa County on Election Day.  21 to over 60 percent of all machines have been reported to have been affected.  No one seems to know the exact figure.  The election workers, who had not been trained for such an emergency, handled the situation poorly based on incomplete information from Maricopa Board of Supervisor Chairman Bill Gates who is a Republican.

Gates told workers to encourage voters to go to other sites where the tabulators were working but left out an important detail.  If they did not go through the  check-out procedure at the first site, they would be counted online at the second site as having already voted! None of the officials responsible seem to care how many people ended up going home and not voting because of this error or the long lines that ensued.

The prior 2020 election involved two, three or more ballots sent to the homes of many Maricopa residents who had not requested them. This happened most likely because Democrat Adrian Fontes, the Maricopa County Recorder at the time, had failed to update the voting rolls. In addition, he opened up emergency sites, not in the Sun City area where elderly people often need special accommodations, but rather in west Phoenix neighborhoods where Democratic voters and non-citizens abound.  What he did was considered unethical, but not against the law.  He lost reelection that year but survived politically.  He was elected this year to the Secretary of State position, second-in-line to the governor.

We can only hope that by some miracle Hobbs and possibly Fontes will turn into officeholders dedicated to doing something right for Arizona. So far, they are most concerned with the loss of “democracy,” which they interpret as putting any limits on abortion up to the moment of birth. They appear less interested in policies that have to do with the economy, crime, the open border and water conservation.

Republican voters put more stock on Trump endorsements than on experience.  They rejected gubernatorial candidates such as businessman Steve Gaynor, former U.S. Representative Matt Salmon, and community-involved Karrin Taylor Robson – all with long lists of accomplishments meaningful to this state.  Instead, they chose flashy, outspoken former television news anchor Kari Lake who managed to alienate John McCain supporters unnecessarily – when she needed their votes to win.

Luckily, Republican Tom Horne won his race to become the next Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction. He won based on his history both as a Paradise Valley Unified School Board President and former State Superintendent.  His record includes the backing of teachers on student discipline and improving the academic achievement of all students.

Another good choice was Republican Kimberly Yee to continue as Arizona State Treasurer.  Her commitment to fiscal responsibility will become evident and helpful as she attempts to save Arizona from the excesses expected from the governor.

Hopefully, the new officials in charge of elections will go to the trouble of updating the voting rolls and making sure the voting machines are functional before the next election.  However, considering whom Arizonans just elected to the top positions, we cannot count on it.

Sadly, it is likely that Arizona will maintain its reputation as the state most likely to fail regarding the process and delivery of fair and honest elections.

By Johanna J. Haver, author of Vindicated: Closing the Hispanic Achievement Gap Through English Immersion and former member of the Maricopa County Community College District (2015 to 2019).