VIA SBINSIDER| July, 7th, 2023
The Pinal County board Wednesday voted to return oversight and management of county elections to the County Recorder’s office. Dana Lewis, appointed Recorder, who was seated when Virginia Ross stepped aside and Ross took over the 2022 election, from August to December. Ross had worked in the elections department prior to her appointment as Recorder. At its regular meeting Wednesday, an overflow crowd of citizen activists spoke to the Board during the public forum. The comments were overwhelmingly positive in support of Lewis’ taking the responsibility. Some speakers did chastise the BOS for “going through 4 directors in 2 years” and the County Manager, Leo Lew, took flak from several speakers as he has the hiring authority via the board. Said one lady referring to Lew ” I’m not certain if it is incompetence or lack of focus” but he, Lew, has to take some responsibility as does the Board who hired him.”
As reported earlier, Arizona allows several models for executing the elections process. Some counties have an election director reporting the Board of Supervisors and others do, as Pinal has now done, put the election director under the management of the Recorder.
This dichotomy caused consternation for conservatives in the last Governor’s race where Katy Hobbs oversaw her victorious personal election as the Arizona Secretary of State, over Kari Lake. That race is still be litigated. The Legislature tried to move a bill this past session which would require a future Secretary of State to resign prior to a run for Governor. It did not pass.
Due to state law, the Board of Supervisors cannot pay Lewis anything extra from taking on this task. She is paid $63,800. Currently the posted election director’s salary is about $150,000.
For a longer story on the vote Wednesday, click here.