Recording Shows Maricopa County Recorder Richer Made Promises His Office Failed To Deliver On

Then-candidate for Maricopa County Recorder (2020) [Photo by Sean Campbell]

In June 2020, amidst the constraints of the COVID-19 lockdowns, Stephen Richer, presently serving as the Maricopa County Recorder, was observed participating in a Republican fundraiser. At the core of his platform was a commitment to restoring both lawfulness and fairness to the recorder’s office—a pledge he asserted had been neglected by the previous officeholder, current Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, to the voters of Arizona.

“I’m Stephen Richer. I’m running for Maricopa County Recorder. That is the office that oversees elections, and I’m running against Democrat, Adrian Fontes. Who actually has a record, and he governs like somebody who has a record in fact,” he says. Following the General Election, Stephen Richer secured victory over Adrian Fontes. In 2022, Richer acknowledged and praised Fontes for his responsible handling as the County Recorder during the 2020 election cycle.

Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer has become the focal point of various controversies since assuming office. This has prompted constituents and fellow Republicans to question whether he is the suitable candidate for Arizona, especially since he has declared his intention to seek re-election for a second term.

The Arizona Senate passed SB1485 which promised to clean up the permanent early voting list in March of 2021. The proposed legislation would require officials to remove a voter from the Early Voting List (EVL) if the individual neglects to cast an early ballot in both the primary and general elections for two consecutive instances where a federal, statewide, or legislative race is present on the ballot.

The legislation mandates that counties must provide advance notification to a voter before proceeding with their removal from the Early Voting List (EVL).

Senate Passes Bill To Rename, Clean Up Permanent Early Voting List

Merissa Hamilton, Chairwoman of and a AZGOP member of CD1, tells me “Stephen is blocking in person inspection of our voting records during the election.”

The Arizona Republican Party undertook an audit of the 2018 General Election and the subsequent actions of the former Maricopa County Recorder, Adrian Fontes. The audit revealed questionable actions by the recorder’s office but did not uncover any illegalities.

Arizona voters are actively pushing for policy changes but feel their elected officials aren’t taking their concerns seriously. The question arises: Will Stephen Richer deliver on the promises he made to those who voted for him, or will they end up feeling betrayed?

Despite the County Recorder publicly affirming his commitment to honesty and the competent execution of his duties, Stephen Richer’s actions since taking office may raise questions about the consistency of his words. On November 8, 2022, Richer sent an email from his campaign email account referencing election day voting and attributing blame to the County Board of Supervisors. Notably, this email included a “Contribute” button at the bottom, encouraging supporters to make donations.

November 8, 2022

I am very sorry for any voter who has been frustrated or inconvenienced today in Maricopa County.

Every legal vote will be tabulated. I promise.

State statute has long governed the division of labor in Arizona election administration. Broadly speaking, the County Recorder is responsible for voter registration and early voting. The Board of Supervisors is responsible for Emergency Voting, Election Day operations, and tabulation.

Since becoming Recorder in 2021, I have worked hard to improve voter registration and Early Voting, while also supporting the Board’s administration of Election Day operations and tabulation, as well as bolstering communications about elections holistically.

I will continue to do that today, and through the conclusion of this election. And I will continue to assist voters in any way I can.

The Board of Supervisors has now identified the problem and has begun fixing affected voting locations.

The Board of Supervisor is also advising all affected voters to do one of the following:

  • Place the ballot in “drawer 3.” This secure ballot box is retrieved by bipartisan workers at the end of the evening and brought to our central tabulators. This is the same methodology used for early voting, and it is the same methodology used on Election Day by most counties (including Pima County and Yavapai County)
  • Go to a different voting location. There are 223 voting locations, and the significant majority of them are unaffected. If you have already checked in, but want to cast your ballot at another site, you must first check out with a poll worker at the SiteBook to return the issued ballot. Then you will be able to vote at any of our locations. All locations can be found at Maricopa.Vote.

As has always been the case, every valid vote will be counted.

And has always been the case, I remain committed to helping in any way I can.

Stephen Richer
Maricopa County Recorder

P.S. We have received and verified over 900,000 early ballots, and those will be ready for release at 8:00 PM tonight when results first become available.

“You know things are going badly at Maricopa County when Stephen Richer is throwing the County Supervisors under the bus. They all owe the voters an apology and none of them should be looking to avoid responsibility for this mess. They have spent the last two years pretending 2020 was a perfectly run election in spite of the evidence, and they need to own their mistakes in 2022 instead of lying to the voters again,” Thayer Verschoor told the Arizona Daily Independent at the time. Verschoor is a former State Senator and Executive Director of the AZGOP and was also a candidate for County Supervisor earlier that year.


Richer Throws Maricopa County Supervisors Under The Bus, Asks For Contributions To Campaign

“I can’t imagine a worse time for a County Recorder to be soliciting contributions than on Election Day, while your voters are stuck in line, waiting for your malfunctioning machines to be repaired so they can vote,” said GOP campaign consultant Constantin Querard.