AZ Secretary of State gets sued over elections manual

From Sedona Redrock News

From Sedona Redrock News October 4, 2023
VOC resident sues Secretary of State Fontes over ballots

"Village of Oak Creek resident Dwight Kadar is suing Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes over a provision in Fontes’ new edition of the state elections procedures manual that permits alternate methods of ballot verification.
Yavapai County Superior Court Judge John D. Napper rejected Fontes’ motion to dismiss the suit on Sept. 1, allowing it to proceed.
Kadar is a joint plaintiff in the suit, which was filed on March 6, with two 501(c)(4) groups, the Arizona Free Enterprise Club and Restoring Integrity and Trust in Elections; the latter is a Virginia-based organization. The Republican Party of Arizona joined the suit as a plaintiff on April 17. Kadar has donated more than $110,000 to the party and to Republican candidates over the last 10 years. He ran unsuccessfully for a Sedona Fire District Governing Board seat in 2018."
Read entire article at

Commentary by Bob Karp

The plaintiffs may have a real case here (although very technical and probably specious) and it should be decided by the courts to limit any confusion during the 2024 election cycle.  However, what I find interesting is who signs on for this suit.  Included is the Arizona Republican Party, a wealthy donor, as well as some Republican affiliated 501(c)(4) groups.
Let's remember a few  things:  1)  for over 20 years about 80% of Arizona voters have voted by mail.  Voters like it and until 2020 trusted the process.  2) During that time Republicans routinely won most statewide elections and kept control of both houses of the state legislature.  3)  There were no complaints about election fraud that resulted in major changes in the outcome of contested races.  4) There has been no proof that mail-in ballots are vulnerable to tampering or forgery at a mass level.
So what changed?  Donald Trump lost the 2020 general election.  That's the only thing that changed in Arizona.  Unlike other states that made changes because of the pandemic, Arizona already had in place "no fault" voting by mail.
Now the charge from the GOP is that people don't trust the system and we have to change it.  However, whatever changes are made, and I believe none are necessary, they will not make these people happy if they lose elections again.  The idea is to create more chaos around elections and then make it even more difficult to vote - forcing everyone to vote in person on election day on paper ballots and then count them by hand.
That's certain to cause a drop in participation and increase in potential fraud resulting in a total loss in confidence in our elections.
Thank you Arizona Republicans!

Anne Carl Commentary: County should continue to use vote centers

Letter to the editor: Herald/Review 9/25/23

To the editor:

We need good governance and fiscal responsibility. Not precinct voting. Not paper registers. Not nostalgia for nostalgia’s sake. So let us continue using Vote Centers (Agenda Item #15 at Tuesday’s meeting) and e-poll books. It would be foolish not to have them.

Read the entire letter at

County should continue using vote centers

Secretary of State Adrian Fontes pushes voter registration, addresses push to ditch partisan ballots

Something to think about!

AZ Secretary of State, Adrian Fontes did what a good SOS does, advocated for people to get registered to vote.  Read the entire article because now there is a push to get rid of the partisan nomination ballot and have everybody run on a single ballot.
From the Cronkite News article by Kiersten Edgett/Cronkite News: "The events came after a recently launched campaign to amend the state constitution and rework Arizona’s primary elections structure.  The proposed initiative, known as the Make Elections Fair Act, seeks to change Arizona primary elections to one single ballot with all running candidates, rather than partisan ballots given based on voters’ political affiliations."
Read the entire article here.
Commentary by Bob Karp
There needs to be some serious discussion of this nonpartisan nomination ballot.  Seems like a terrible idea of the minority party in the state which is the Democratic Party. We already have enough problems at the national level with minority rule (the filibuster in the Senate and the Electoral College) to introduce the same problems at the state level in Arizona makes me concerned.  Stay tuned!

Cochise Elections Director resigns after less than four months

Commentary by Bob Karp

From Arizona Public Media ( by Summer Hom:
"The Cochise County Elections Director has resigned, again.
If it seems like déjà vu, and that’s because it is - the second time this year that a County Elections Director has resighted
Cochise County Recorder David Stevens and Cochise County Supervisor Tom Crosby confirmed to AZPM Monday that Cochise County Elections Director Bob Bartelsmeyer handed in his resignation last Friday. Supervisor Ann English and Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre also confirmed.  English said in an email that Bartelsmeyer handed in his two-week notice on Friday. That puts Bartelsmeyer's last day on the job as September 29."

Commentary by Bob Karp

Have we, the residents of Cochise County, had enough yet?  Now the county Elections Director, Bob Barelsmeyer, forced upon the voting public by County Recorder David Stevens, and Supervisor Tom Crosby (with the vote and help of Supervisor Peggy Judd), has resigned and returned to his PREVIOUS position in La Paz county.

Let's remember that as part of his employment agreement, he was given a relocation allowance.

A number of questions about how Cochise County is governed come immediately to mind:

  1. Does the Board of Supervisors plan to claw back the reimbursed expenses?
  2. How did the hiring process go off the rails and who is to blame for it?
  3. Will the BoS and the County Administrator now step in to make sure that future hiring practices and employment contracts are fair to both the employee and to the county?
  4. Why would La Paz county take this guy back?
  5. Was there private meetings and agreements in La Paz about this that violate Arizona Open Meeting Laws?
  6. How are the two November 2023 special elections going to conducted when the two remaining Elections Department employees have not been with the department for a previous election?
It is time to demand answers from the people that govern and run Cochise County.


Commentary – Cochise County Assessor on vote centers

Commentary by Bob Karp: Cochise County Assessor wants to go back to the "good old days" of voting in precincts

Letter to Cochise County Board of Supervisors

While I appreciate that Assessor Leiendecker believes a return to last century's (actually we had precinct voting up until 2015 ) voting procedures  would be a good thing, he only mentions "sense of community" as a real value.  I would remind him that "voters always vote at the same location in their neighborhood".  is unsupported by reality. In the past polling places often changed and voters had to search for the correct one. Also that the precinct level voting "eliminates long lines".  There is nothing that says that is necessarily correct.  Maybe the lines could be shorter, but by adding many more untrained poll workers and elections equipment to the mix, the likelihood of election day problems goes up.
How would the county run elections in 55 precincts?  Cost of equipment, training, moving highly secured equipment to many more locations, transport of ballots to and from the precincts.  I assume in the background is this wonderful idea of paper ballots that go into a lock box.  Election results would take weeks to accurately count.
Leiendeck has a 1950s view of the elections world and it doesn't line up with today's working families who need to be able to vote at the most convenient location which often is close to work so they can go at lunch or to and from work.
Vote centers are popular with the voting public and when the public finds out that for some nostalgic reason or something more nefarious, the costs of elections goes up three or four hundred percent, they will remember the politicians that ushered in this step back.  Let's go to the data.  Approximately 80% of Arizona voters vote by mail-in ballot.  The public doesn't need a "community event" on election day.  Just an easy way to cast their vote.
Don't do it!
By the way I don't miss "the election day process of voting at the local precinct polling location, seeing neighbors and poll workers who you know  and live around."
 A final word.  Of course Mr. Leiendeck has every right to comment on matters before the Board of Supervisors.  AS A PRIVATE citizen if it doesn't directly relate to his elected position in county government.  However, he signed his letter to the BoS has "Cochise County Assessor" meddling in a decision that his office should stay out of.

Letter to the Editor: Fred Miller Ali Morse

As published in the Herald/Review online 8/25/23

To the editor:

We would like to thank Cochise County Supervisors Peggy Judd and Ann English for voting against the extension of the $1 million grant for "ballot fraud countermeasures."


Through no fault of their own, this controversial grant had been beset by procurement issues, ongoing delays, and the failure of Recorder David Stevens to provide proper paperwork. The grant was an expensive and poorly administered attempt to solve a non-existent problem. Although the grant was terminated on Tuesday, Recorder Stevens had already spent over $187,500 of taxpayers’ money without board approval.


Additional thanks to English and Judd who indicated at Tuesday’s work session that they are in favor of having oversight of the Cochise County elections department return to the county administrator.

Recorder Stevens has been in charge of elections since late February and will step down Sept. 7. His responsibilities included hiring Elections Director Bob Bartelsmeyer and overseeing the unlawful acceptance of petitions to repeal the Douglas AMA, for which the county was sued.


We believe these votes by Supervisors Judd and English are a positive step toward beginning to rebuild trust in elections that has been seriously eroded over the past year.

Fred Miller


Ali Morse


Attorney asks AZ Supreme Court to throw out 2022 election

Commentary by Bob Karp follows

"PHOENIX — A Scottsdale attorney who is a supporter of Kari Lake is asking the Arizona Supreme Court to void not just the results of the race for governor she lost but the entire 2022 election statewide.
In a new filing, Ryan Heath contends that it was illegal for Maricopa County to verify signatures on early ballots by comparing them with images from prior early ballots. He contends Arizona law says the only valid comparison has to be with the person’s original voter registration."
Read the entire news article at
Commentary by Bob Karp
Elected officials raise your hand if you want a 2022 election do-over. If yes, then immediately resign and ask for a special election. These lawsuits show no good faith in our election process in this state. And the unspoken agreement by everyone filing lawsuits is that these objections would overwhelmingly disenfranchise Democratic Party voters. For over 20 years Republicans have dominated the AZ political scene and we have had mail-in balloting - not a peep out of them. Now a flurry of the most technical and bad faith arguments.