Clean and accurate voter rolls are a cornerstone to safe and secure elections. And they are required by both state and federal law. Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) specifically obligates states to conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters due to death or change of residence. The U.S. Supreme Court even backed this up in its 2018 decision in the case Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute.
But Arizona’s current Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and its former Secretary of State (now Governor) Katie Hobbs have failed to perform the necessary voter list maintenance. And right now, 14 Arizona counties are in violation of Section 8 of the NVRA.
Four Arizona Counties Appear to Have More Registered Voters Than Voting-Age Adult Citizens
A simple comparison of the data gathered from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2017-2021 American Community Survey with the most up-to-date count of registered voters available from the Arizona Secretary of State is quite eye-opening. When you compare the registered voter count to the survey, it shows that Apache, La Paz, Navajo, and Santa Cruz Counties all have greater than 100% voter registration!
This means that in each of those counties there are more registered voters than eligible voters, and last time we checked, that’s impossible. Clearly, Arizona’s voter rolls are not being properly maintained, but this data alone isn’t the only cause for alarm.
Nine Arizona Counties Have Suspiciously High Voter Registration Rates
According to the Census Bureau, the current national voter registration rate is 69.1 percent. And Arizona’s voter registration rate was 76.4 percent in 2020 and 68.6 percent in 2018. Yet somehow, nine counties in Arizona currently have voter registration rates that exceed 90 percent of their citizen voting-age populations, including: Cochise, Coconino, Gila, Maricopa, Mohave, Pima, Pinal, Yavapai, and Yuma. On top of that, Graham County also outpaces the national voter registration rate with over 80 percent voter registrations.
If you’re keeping count, that means 14 of Arizona’s 15 counties have abnormally high—or in four particular instances, impossibly high—voter registration rates. Discrepancies like this can’t possibly be attributed to above-average voter participation. Instead, they are clear evidence of Arizona’s failure to provide accurate voter rolls, and something must be done.
Adrian Fontes Has 90 Days to Comply with the NVRA
Retaining voter rolls that are bloated with ineligible voters harms the electoral process, heightens the risk of election fraud, and undermines public confidence in elections. That’s why Arizona Free Enterprise Club President Scot Mussi, in partnership with the Honest Elections Project, sent a pre-litigation notice letter to Secretary of State Adrian Fontes earlier this week. Fontes is being given 90 days to correct the violations we identified and must remove anyone from the official voter list who is ineligible to vote in a county, including those who changed residence, died, or are presently incarcerated.
If he fails to comply, Fontes will face a federal lawsuit because having accurate voter rolls is imperative to conducting an election with integrity. And if Adrian Fontes is going to take his job as Secretary of State seriously, he must secure our elections and ensure that Arizona voters are confident in the results, regardless of the outcome.
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