Secretary of State Fontes Defies the Election laws


Arizona Voter Rolls Contain 500,000 Unqualified Voters. We’re Suing to Clean Them Up.

Last Friday, the AZ Free Enterprise Club filed a lawsuit in federal court against Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes for failing to comply with the National Voter Registration Act’s (NVRA) mandate that he maintain accurate and updated voter registration records. Why? The data shows that there are 500,000 unaccounted for registered voters who are not qualified either due to death or moving out of the state, and in total, up to more than a million voters on the rolls who should not be registered.

Clean and accurate voter rolls are the bedrock of elections run with integrity. Ensuring only those eligible to vote may register and are on the rolls means that only eligible voters may vote in an election. It’s a basic principle: garbage in, garbage out. If we begin with bad data – ineligible individuals on the rolls – the system is susceptible to allowing ineligible ballots to be cast.

That’s why in 2022 we championed two landmark pieces of legislation to accomplish just that, and why, unsurprisingly, Marc Elias and the left’s lawfare machine immediately sued to stop these commonsense safeguards from going into effect. HB2492 ensures only eligible citizens who have provided proof of citizenship can register to vote and HB2243 requires regular and routine voter roll maintenance using several databases of information, with regular reports to the legislature of the results.

Both these laws are consistent with the NVRA’s mandate that states maintain accurate voter registration lists. But right now, Adrian Fontes is failing in his obligations under both, and that’s why we have filed a lawsuit in federal court to force him to do his job.

Four Counties Have More Registered Voters Than People

How do we know? According to the most recent census and voter registration data, more than 90% of the voting age population in Arizona is purportedly registered to vote. The national average is 69.1%. Why would Arizonans register to vote at an absurdly higher rate than the rest of the country? The only answer is that the state and counties are failing to adequately remove individuals who are no longer eligible, leading to bloated rolls.

It is even worse when looking county by county. For example, somehow 117% of the voting age population in Apache County is registered to vote. That’s right, the most recent census data reports that while there are only 48,096 people in Apache County that are of voting age population, 56,461 people are registered to vote – more people registered than live there! La Paz and Santa Cruz counties also exceed 100%, and in the state’s most populous county, Maricopa, 2,939,138 of the 3,128,330 (91.3%), voting aged residents are registered to vote. Again, that’s far higher than the national average rate of 69.1%.

No Recorded Responses of Registration Confirmation Notices

Even more alarming in Maricopa County is that of the 752,387 confirmation notices sent, 131,682 voters were removed from the rolls, but there is no reported response from a staggering 620,000 individuals. By contrast, in every other county, almost every single confirmation letter is accounted for. Meaning, if 100,000 letters were sent out, there is a recorded response for all 100,000 of them. Not so in Maricopa County, where more than 82% have no record.

Fontes’ List Maintenance Procedures Are Still “In Development”

All of this unfortunately comes as no surprise, considering just last year we sent a letter to Fontes demanding he clean the rolls. The numbers have not changed much since then, and the quarterly reports from the Secretary of State required by HB2243 make the growing problem even more evident.

In the most recent report, 43,305 individuals in just the first three months of 2024 moved to and obtained a driver’s license in another state. But no notice was sent to them, because according to Adrian Fontes the process is still “in development” two years after the law was passed. More than 4,000 people also self-reported they are no longer a resident of the county, but they will remain on the rolls because Fontes’ process for handling this is also “in development.”

On its face, a registration rate of over 90% is not plausible. But digging into the data reveals hundreds of thousands of individuals that should not be on the rolls, and according to Fontes himself, they will remain because his removal process is still “in development.” That flies in the face of the NVRA’s mandate for uniform statewide list maintenance, and that is why we have sued. We expect the courts to agree and compel Fontes to do his job.

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