VIA SBINSIDER| June 29, 2023
The 2022 election cycle was not a good look for Pinal County. First, the August primary was racked with numerous process breakdowns including a shortage of Republican ballots in SaddleBrooke and other areas of the county. That mess led to the firing of election director David Fisk, who was hired by the Pinal County Board of Supervisors.
Arizona has a schizophrenic system for managing voters and elections. Supervisors can hire and manage elections by hiring the elections director directly. Or, it can delegate the responsibility to the elected County Recorder. Generally, the Recorder handles the compilation of the voter database in conjunction with the Arizona Secretary of State. The elections director is the hands-on person for creating ballots, setting voting sites, counting the ballots and all the responsibilities to execute the actual election.
Virginia Ross (elected 2012) took over elections early in her tenure. Her elections directors had no problems with running elections. At a certain point, population growth overstretched her office and she handed the task back to the Board of Supervisors in 2017. Her pick, Michele Fortin had zero problems with elections but quit after the 2020 Presidential election brought undue harassment from members of the public. Enter David Fisk. In private, Ross told the Board members to not hire Fisk, who had never worked in Arizona elections.
After the August debacle, Ross then quit as Recorder and was given a contract as the elections director job in August 2022. Her contract covered the November election and ended in December 2022 with vote certification. In the meantime, Geraldine Roll, a lawyer and employee of the Country Attorney’s office, accepted the elections director job to begin when Ross left.
This past week, Roll quit abruptly and in her letter of resignation said she did not get the support of the Board she thought she needed to do her job. Coincidentally, Roll recommended to the Board the termination of a contract for GPS ballot box trackers and suggested a replacement vendor. The Board voted to support her idea but the action was misinterpreted by county conservative activists as somehow a reduction of security, which was not true.
For a more in-depth read of the events and reactions to her resignation CLICK HERE.
Now, the search is on for a replacement. Although the position is well compensated it will be difficult to find an Arizona experienced elections director. Ross, who has moved to Texas, is not coming back and it is just possible the appointed Recorder, Dana Lewis, will take over responsibility for elections. Lewis is a certified elections officer.