On Wednesday, June 26, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors met at a public hearing to consider several issues. The one we cared about is summarized below and involved the action they intend to take on elections in 2020.  We see from the summary that at least Mr. Chucri has paid attention to his constituents and we know that by some of the language used in this report.  We have some questions about implementation of this new system.  For instance, you see that they have hired a "point person."  What is this person's job?  When the BOS could not get cooperation out of Fontes, how is a "point person" going to get anywhere?  We are told this person has "co-equal" authority with the Recorder.  If so, what happens when these two people, point person and Recorder, are at odds?  How is that resolved?

We will continue to stay on this periodically.  This summary makes it clear that the BOS will not take the elections department back under their total control.  At least, not yet.  The devil is in the early ballots!  This bears watching for the remainder of the time between now and the post-2020 election.  Fontes is a slippery operative. We think there is something else in the works.  Stay tuned!

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Building on a year’s worth of momentum, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors just took an important step to restore our statutory responsibilities related to elections

These responsibilities were given to the Recorder’s Office as part of a charter that dates back to 1955 and hasn’t been amended since 1985.  Clearly, our region is much different than it was back then.  Rather than have one, partisan elected official responsible for overseeing all election activities, Maricopa County should align its operations with what is written in state law.

You may not realize this, but under state statute, county Recorders in Arizona are given responsibility for several activities leading up to Election Day including voter registration and early voting.  State law gives Boards of Supervisors responsibility for much of what happens on Election Day, including the location and number of polling places, the equipment to count votes, and the training and assigning of poll workers.

Under the decades-old charter between the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, the Elections Director is hired by and reports directly to the Recorder.  This effectively limits the Board’s role in the process to one of budget oversight.  I’ve wanted to change this for years.

With my Chairmanship in 2018, the Board began to take a more active role.  We sent our internal auditors into the Elections Department to look at processes.  We hired outside consultants to show us the gaps that were preventing the county from delivering best-in-class elections.  And we fast-tracked discussions that had been long overdue about amending the charter in a way that would allow the Board more oversight while also respecting the clear line drawn by state law, which gives certain responsibilities to the elected Recorder.

Today, my colleagues and I adopted the following:

  • Maricopa County will acquire new vote tabulation machines that protect the integrity and security of each vote while also allowing us to count ballots more quickly.  Funding for this technology is part of the county’s fiscal year 2020 budget.
  • The County will complete a staffing analysis to guide the Board’s funding and recruitment of personnel required to support a successful election.Funding for 26 positions is reserved in the FY 2020 budget.
  • The Board has hired a “point person” inside the Elections Department. This director will have oversight of the assigned statutory responsibilities of the Board and report directly to the Board (one of only four positions countywide to do so).  We designed it that way on purpose so that we are aware of every decision affecting our side of the elections house. 
  • The Board will execute election day statutory activities. These activities include poll worker training and chain of custody of tabulation equipment and ballots.

This is about moving away from the past—from old technology and a decades-old charter to running elections in a way befitting the Maricopa County of tomorrow.  We’re the 4thlargest county in America.  People expect us to get it right.  These changes are designed to ensure we have the proper checks and balances to serve all voters in 2020 and beyond.

In the meantime, know that our eye is on the ball.  We are focused on successful elections in 2020.

With this newly amended agreement that allows for collaboration with the Recorder’s Office, we are better equipped for a successful election in 2020.

Your voice is always welcome in my District 2 office. Please never hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,
Steve Chucri, District 2
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

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Replies to This Discussion

Time will tell.

We don't have 'time'  I don't understand why the Board will not take over the elections??   These are just band aids on an open wound,  and will not guarantee honest elections.   What is the problem??  Do they want honest elections or not??

They don't want to be the ones accused of elections not being run properly as all must remember they to will be up for re election, this is a no win for them, although they could have someone outside come in and make the necessary logistic changes to be certain all polls are open on time and enforce the Ballot Harvesting laws, but don't hold your breath for that one either, so we'll just have to hope and pray and turn out the vote to get the desired results, at least this time President Trump won't have an opponent in the Primary so only have to be concerned for Nov. in his case, all others in Maricopa County will be up to the Voters.

Karen:  When the BOS entered into a handshake arrangement with the Recorder's office back in the '50s I think, there was no such thing as early ballots.  So that is not part of the arrangement the BOS has with the Recorder.  Today, 80% of the vote is by early ballot.  Early ballot is the easiest way to cheat, ballots are opened and inspected thus violating the right to secret ballot, two people often decide the ballot is not clear and they judge how the voter intended to vote or it is damaged and they make up a duplicate ballot and on it goes.  Unless the early voting can be controlled, it doesn't matter whether the BOS takes back the 20% of the vote.  The BOS has taken over the appointments of poll workers and EIPAz is working to make other important changes via legislation.  All is not lost.

Thank you AFA for your explanation.  It seems the early ballot is the  culprit, and maybe a lack of BOS backbone.  Could legislation be done to eliminate the early ballot??

Yes, legislation created the PEVL and only legislation can undo that.  Do not expect it will happen.  People cannot be weaned off something that is as convenient as early ballots.  Convenience seems more important than the assurance their vote is accurately counted and not neutralized by unlawful votes.  We do suggest that everyone get off the early ballot list or risk having your vote corrupted.  It happens every election. 

Early Ballots are the way both Parties game the system to stay in power, they know exactly who votes and target these voters, most who challenge them don't have the funds they do and remember most mailing lists you get from the Parties and can't be trusted but those in power know from their own systems who to mail to and call on, this system if not ended at the very least should be limited to Absentee Ballots used by sick, out of state, etc., and then only two weeks long ending say 3 days before the polls open, and believe then and only then will we be able to end the control they have over the Results.
I remember when growing up and we had polling place at our school and say many voters there waiting to vote and it always impressed me and believe actually help my activism at an early age, nothing like seeing our Republic being guarded by the voters face to face, great example for the youth.
God Bless You; Van

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