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Maricopa board examines gaining more control over elections

November 22, 2018

PHOENIX (AP) — The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has launched a review of the authority of the county Recorder’s Office to run elections in the Phoenix area.

Steve Chucri, the Republican chairman of the board, said he is willing to work with the state Legislature next year on a measure to possibly give the board more control over the election process, KTVK-TV reported this week.

Chucri did not say what changes he wants to make to the decades-old contract that gives authority to the Recorder’s Office, but he noted that he was concerned about the use of emergency voting centers, long voting lines and slow ballot counting during the midterm elections.

In response, Recorder Adrian Fontes said in a statement that his office is preparing for the Nov. 26 official canvass, and his “priority is the work at hand needed to finish out the election.”

While state law gives county boards of supervisors control over the election process, the Maricopa County board delegated most election duties to the Recorder’s Office in a 1955 agreement.

The county has hired elections attorney Joe Kanefield to review the agreement, which has been modified four times since it went into effect. He is scheduled to talk with the board in a closed meeting next week.

Chucri said he wants to know what changes the board is allowed to make on its own and what changes require state legislation.

The Republican-controlled board and Fontes previously clashed over elections when dozens of polling locations failed to open on time at the August primary.

The board budgeted $200,000 to hire independent auditors to examine what went wrong and make recommendations.

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Information from: KTVK-TV, http://www.azfamily.com/

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