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Fontes defends last-minute ballot mailing for Tuesday’s presidential primary

The county recorder said it was a way to deal with coronavirus. AG persuaded a judge to block him.

ARIZONA, USA —

It’s not an Arizona election if there’s no drama. 

The coronavirus outbreak created plenty of election drama last week. 

On this weekend’s “Sunday Square Off,” Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes defends his last-minute attempt to mail early ballots to all registered Democratic voters in time for Tuesday’s presidential primary.

Fontes said it was a response to the potential impact of the coronavirus on voters going to the polls. It would have made the election an all-mail vote; about 70 percent of voters in typical election already vote by mail. 

Maricopa County is eliminating about 80 polling places and changing the remaining 150 to voting centers, where anyone can drop off a ballot. (To find your polling place, go to BeBallotReady.Vote)

The county said it didn’t have enough cleaning supplies to ensure all the polling places would be safe and many sites that hosted polling places were dropping out.

As recorder, Fontes manages the early vote in Maricopa County elections. Last year, he handed over control of election day voting to the Maricopa County Board.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the state’s top elections official, said Fontes’ last-minute mailing was illegal, and Attorney General Mark Brnovich persuaded a judge to block it.

Be Ballot Ready

“Sunday Square Off," with moderator Brahm Resnik, airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on 12 News, after NBC's "Meet the Press," with Chuck Todd. 

You can find past "Square Off" segments online at 12news.com/YouTube.

More Sunday Square Offs: 

GOP votes to bar transgender girls from Arizona school sports, but battle’s not over

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego takes on surge in homelessness, but she wants help