Lessons learned

I've been looking back at the last few months -- and I am continually surprised at some of the reactions that I have been getting as I go around the County and speak to folks about what we are doing as an office. It's a nice response to the work we've done, which includes lots of listening and learning from the lessons of the past.

For example, as I was leaving the commencement exercise at Phoenix College (where I still teach as an Adjunct), a law enforcement officer stopped me and told me, point-blank, "I'm a conservative republican, and I just wanted to tell you that you are doing the right things. Keep up the good work."

It was a lesson for me, and somewhat a validation about the decisions that we are making in office. I have a feeling it had to do with the way we are working the voter registration system, but he was not specific, so I cannot assume. Anyway, it was good to hear and it was important for me to know... people are watching what is happening.

That's not a thing that you hear about much, this idea of people paying attention. For example, we can look to the campaign I went through to get here. I expected to hear some things about me that folks just know, but they never came-up. My opponent never talked much about my career in criminal defense. It's not something that folks couldn't easily find, I have been doing it for years in pretty public cases. But I just thought folks didn't end-up caring much because that's not what this race was about.
So the lesson I thought I learned was that folks would just focus on what was pertinent to the office, no matter how cynical we are (generally) about politicians and politics.

But it goes a little farther than just an incident or two in person, or the nature of my past career. My lessons learned are actually what inform my decision-making and policy. Anyone with a few years under their belt knows that these life experiences, where successes and mistakes make-up the tapestry of one's life journey, are really valuable.

Let me tell you about another set of lessons I learned when running for office. In fifth grade I was the class treasurer. I don't know why we even had one, but we did, and I assume it all went well. In college I ran successfully for student senate, then for one of the executive spots. I ran and lost more than once. In spite of victories and losses, there were important lessons learned. One time we passed a 'formal' bill through the student senate that 'thumped' the campus newspaper for their reporting. It was childish, but it passed with almost a unanimous vote because student politics are not the most serious of endeavors. There were poison-pen columns, vicious seeming letters to the editor, allegations of misconduct, missing newspapers and all kinds of typical college hijinks back then. The competition among and between several student campaigns was fierce, but it was a good learning environment. Lots of young people learned lots of lessons from those formative years. But we knew we were there to learn, and I'm glad to say that I continue try to learn still, nearly three decades later.

Today, I see the value in good and bad prior decisions. Learning from what we see, hear and experience adds value to today and tomorrow's decisions... if you bother to take the time and learn. So now, I look carefully to the professional staff in my office. I look to them not for campaign or political advice, but for professional counsel on elections policy. They have the experience. They have seen the good times and the bad times. The managers and staff at the Recorder's Office are bringing their good and bad lessons learned to the table, and we are listening to each other to make better decisions moving forward.

I will keep listening to the lessons learned from our folks. I will continue to do things with that experience and allow it to help guide our decisions. I will not shy away from the experiences of the past, good or bad, personal or institutional, so that we can continue moving this County forward and get the work of the people done.

Adrian Fontes

Helen Purcell misinforms voters, yet again

Tempe voters received the wrong polling location on a mailer sent out by the Maricopa County Recorder's office. This is yet another mistake made under the leadership of Helen Purcell that misinforms and confuses voters. 

Purcell's response? 11 days before the election, those voters will get a map and the correct information. 

I drew the line at the long lines in the Presidential Preference Election in March. And this mistake just confirms what I already knew: it's time for Helen to retire and make way for new leadership.

Watch and Read the ABC 15 Story.

ABC 15 HEadline


So Adrian, what are you actually going to do about security?

"So Adrian, what are you actually going to do?"

I get asked this question all the time. Rightly so. Anyone can see a problem, but the person who steps up to fix it needs to see a solution.

This past Wednesday, at a forum hosted by the Arizona Women Lawyer's Association, a very direct and specific question was asked about security in the Recorder's Office. I want to partially answer that question here.

The following are general considerations I would like to see carefully explored at the MCRO. To be clear, what I am presenting to you is more of a general outline to be improved upon as we learn more about the current systems and their needs. 
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Watch the New Ad

We can't let Purcell get elected again. Vote Fontes on November 8. 

The disenfranchisement of provisional voters

The Phoenix New Times ran an article today about Helen Purcell's decision not to count the 728 provisional ballots that were cast in the August 30 primary before the official certification of voting results this morning. The County's policy to not count provisional ballots has led to what Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joshua Rogers clearly called disenfranchisement of voters. He wrote in his ruling in the lawsuit against the state brought by Arizona Congressional candidate Christine Jones:

"Numerous voters who were either told by poll workers that their vote would count, or, by silence, were misled to believe that their vote would count, were disenfranchised."

The County Recorder's ePollbook directed poll workers to tell voters who showed up at the wrong precinct and were not willing to go to the correct precinct to cast a provisional ballot. They were not instructed to tell these provisional voters that their votes will never be counted. 

Judge Rogers' called the error the "result of a uniform procedure implemented by Maricopa County in instructing voters who are in the wrong precinct." In other words, this was not a one-off mistake. 

Replace Helen Purcell

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What to do with 2 Early Ballots

What to do if you received 2 early ballots. We need to hold Helen Purcell's office accountable for its mistakes this election cycle. 

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2 PEVL Ballots?

We have received several calls about voters receiving more than one PEVL ballot in the mail. Has this happened to you? We want to know.

Comment below or send an email to info@electfontes.com 

We need to continue to hold Helen Purcell accountable for our dysfunctional elections process.

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Early Voting Locations

Use this simplified table to find early voting locations for the August 30 primary instead of the County Recorder's confusing website. There is now a location at the ASU campus. 

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The Arizona Republic agrees with me


This week, The Arizona Republic endorsed the GOP candidate who is running against Helen Purcell in the August 30 Primary. They called Purcell's handling of the presidential preference election in March a "profound failure."   

The paper agrees with me on both points: 1) she's done, 2) the GOP (and its candidates) need to more forcefully hold her accountable. Establishment politics, veiled in politeness, is not real leadership.

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Replace Helen Purcell

Make a contribution of $50, $100 or $250.

Helen Purcell has failed our democracy once again. She has misled voters with her plan for 724 polling sites.

In fact, there are at least 79 fewer polling sites than she claims. That's 79 fewer parking lots on election day, and far fewer polling sites than in the 2008 primary. 
It's the end of the line for her 27 year reign as Maricopa County Recorder. As of yesterday, The Arizona Republic agrees with me
Will you help me in my campaign to #replacehelenpurcell and create and elections office that works for all voters? 

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