Adrian Fontes won his seat for county recorder in 2016 by capitalizing on an underprepared Presidential Preference election at which no one anticipated the wave of turnout. Despite Fontes’ unrelenting criticism of then long-time recorder Helen Purcell and lofty promises to “restore democracy,” Fontes’ record as recorder is ironically marred by utter incompetence, corruption and reckless disregard for the law and voters.
In short, Fontes has been a disaster and the electorate deserves better representation.
Fontes Has Done a Horrible Job Running County Elections, Wasting Millions in Taxpayer Dollars
Fontes’ debut election was the Primary in August 2018. By 6:00AM 62 polling centers were not operational. In fact, it took until 11:30 AM on voting day for all the centers to be up and running. Though Fontes was quick to pass the buck to the contractor for the voter check in system, these were not the only operational gaffes. Public records procured by the media showed Fontes’ office received over 200 complaints from voters. Poll workers were untrained and unprepared, voters received incorrect ballots and many instances were cited of unsecured ballots. And the “mundane” details required to grease a smooth election process were too tedious for Fontes to bother with – many polling stations lacked the basics including working internet, printers without toner and locations that were simply locked.
Ultimately, taxpayers were on the hook for another $200,000 for outside audits to determine why the election had been such a debacle.
Fontes has claimed he needs more resources to run day to day operations, increase outreach to the community and invest in new ballot tabulation systems. In fact, he has squandered these tax dollars hiring useless positions like a taxpayer-funded lobbyist, personnel to run voter registration drives at Democrat-rich events, and flashy new technology that come election day failed.
Fontes Has a Complete Lack of Respect for Voters
Aside from Fontes’ just being bad at his job, the current county recorder has demonstrated a complete lack of respect for the elections office and subsequently for the voters he is supposed to represent. After a voter on Facebook had the “audacity” to question why the mail-in ballot he received did not have a clear date it needed to be returned by, Fontes told him (a fellow Democrat) to “Go f— yourself.” Though Fontes claims he serves voters, his belligerent treatment of valid voter concerns demonstrates an actual deep disdain for being accountable to them.
This record of erratic and incompetent behavior led to the County Board of Supervisors hiring their own elections director and taking a more direct role in overseeing election day operations.
Fontes Does Not Believe He Should Have to Follow the Law
Adrian Fontes has seemed to be incapable of coming to terms with his loss of powers. In an effort to be more relevant, this year Fontes proceeded in his cavalier fashion to unilaterally rewrite election law. Fontes declared he would mail early ballots to all voters even those who are not on the Permanent Early Voters List (PEVL). This was not legal. And he was told so by the County Board of Supervisors, the Attorney General, the Secretary of State (a member of his own political party), and finally a Superior Court judge.
And as if there wasn’t enough confusion and uncertainty during these times, Fontes continued with his disregard of the law by instructing voters if they made a mistake on their ballots to cross it out and refill it. This unlawful advice could have led to many voters’ ballots not being counted at all. Acting upon his own authority, with blatant indifference for the law (again), a Superior Court judge (again) blocked his actions. Of course, this was after 2 million erroneous instruction sheets were already printed at the expense of taxpayers.
It is clear when Fontes does not like a law, he simply chooses to ignore it. Unfortunately, it is the taxpayers and voters who keep flipping the bill for his immature and irresponsible behavior.
It is obvious at this point that Adrian Fontes is not interested in the job of administering elections. Fontes sees the position of County Recorder as nothing more than a political operation to be used for the benefit of himself and his political cronies. Voters deserve a fair, unbiased and seamless election process, something Fontes is incapable of delivering. Come November, voters should vote accordingly.