Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes have figured out a work around to the Republican-controlled State Legislature.
Hobbs and Fontes are Democrats. Both are pushing last-minute changes to the state’s election laws and attempting to make the process safer and more convenient during the pandemic.
Instead of navigating the legislative process, both have sought court rulings that they hope will supersede state law and allow “virtual” voting for the Nov. 3 General Election.
Hobbs and Fontes have put Gov. Ducey, a Republican, and a Maricopa Superior Court judge in a politically undesirable position. Opposing efforts to encourage participation in the voting process usually paints the antagonist as working to suppress the vote.
In this case, The Secretary of State and Maricopa County Recorder are running roughshod over state election laws and justifying their decisions by blaming the pandemic.
Crisis or not, the laws that govern elections in Arizona were established through a legislative process representing diverse interests. That process provides an assurance of public confidence in the outcome of our elections, defining who can vote, how they can vote and how disputes and other issues will be settled.
Changing the voting process by executive fiat sets an unwelcome precedent and can erode that public confidence. Allowing Hobbs or Fontes to make up the rules on how people can vote less than two months before the election ends is a recipe for corruption of the process.
Asking a Superior Court judge to authorize this change puts the judicial branch at odds with the role of the legislative branch, which is responsible to draft the laws governing our elections.
Attorneys representing Ducey, Hobbs and Fontes were scheduled to gather Monday to present arguments on this emergency effort to allow virtual voting. The Maricopa County Superior Court Judge, Randall Warner, was expected to issue a ruling before early voting begins on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
We appreciate and understand that the pandemic has created hardships for the elderly and others who are not able to venture out for fear of contracting the coronavirus.
That hardship, however, does not justify radically changing Arizona election laws to accommodate voters who could also utilize the early balloting process to participate in the election.
There may come a time in the near future when FaceTime voting, or “virtual” voting, is a commonly-accepted practice that has been proven successful.
At the moment, it’s an untested technology that has the potential of threatening the credibility of Arizona’s election process.
Recognizing that threat, we stand with Ducey in opposing what Hobbs and Fontes are attempting to accomplish for the Nov. 3 election.