New Maricopa County Recorder, Adrian Fontes, campaigned and won his race over former Recorder, Helen Purcell, on the notion that he could run county elections more smoothly than his predecessor. In hindsight, he says, it's impossible to make everything run without a hitch on election days, but he has the team that can do it.
Fontes went before the board a week after the 2018 Arizona Primary to face tough questions about what went wrong.
County supervisors gave Fontes an earful of complaints from voters who saw polls not set-up, faulty equipment and long lines to cast their ballots.
They also cited a lack of manpower and adequate training for poll workers; as well as, gaps in communication between the polls and election officials. Fontes claims the contractor hired to help failed to provide enough support.
Fontes accepted responsibility, but says his team has a solid plan in place going forward.
"I take responsibility as the elected official in charge of all this entire operation" Fontes said. "(And) for those voters who did not get the chance to vote at their local polling station on election day. But at the end of the day, when we look at the overall system; we see an operation that attacked the problem and an operation that improved the situation as the day went on."
Commissioners say they would like to see his contingency plans in writing in the coming weeks, but the bottom line--he simply has to "get it right" by November.
"I think we have to focus on what went wrong and why, fundamentally with the contractor," County Chairman, Steve Chucri said. "And then, start to go down the checklist."
By the end of the Special Session, supervisors approved $200,000 for an audit to help prevent problems during the November general election.