2023 Election Procedures Manual Lays Groundwork for Safe, Free and Secure Elections for AZ Voters

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PHOENIX – Voters can expect safe and secure elections heading into 2024 with the recently updated Elections Procedures Manual, which was submitted by Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and approved by Governor Katie Hobbs and Attorney General Kris Mayes on Dec. 29, 2023 as required by law.

This revised manual, which carries the force of law, was a top priority for the secretary in his first year in office as he collected input from county officials, tribes and through public comment before forming a consensus with Hobbs and Mayes. This document provides local and county election officials with a clear and more concise roadmap to conducting elections, so every Arizonan has the opportunity to vote.

"Free, fair and secure elections have been this group's commitment to the voter from the very beginning," Fontes said. "This is what happens when a committed group of leaders comes together to serve their community. It's good for our democracy and it's good for Arizona."

The state has not had an approved EPM since 2019 after partisan politics halted negotiations in 2021. Fixing that dysfunction became a focal point for this body of elected officials as they worked to remove ambiguity from the elections process and make election officials duties clearer.

"Partisan politics should have no role in how we run our elections," said Governor Hobbs. "This EPM builds on the 2019 EPM and 2021 draft EPM from my tenure as Secretary of State and will ensure dedicated public servants from across the state will have the guidelines they need to administer free and fair elections. Together, we can protect our democracy and make sure every Arizonan has the opportunity to have their voice heard."

The Secretary of State's draft submission to the Governor and Attorney General came ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline. According to state law, the Elections Procedures Manual must be approved by Dec. 31 of each odd-numbered year preceding the General Election.

"Local election officials are on the front lines of democracy, and they need clear, actionable guidance to do their jobs effectively," said Attorney General Kris Mayes. "The updated manual is a direct response to that need, offering detailed procedures and protocols to navigate the complexities of election administration. It's a comprehensive resource aimed at ensuring that our elections are not only fair and secure but also transparent, reinforcing public trust in the electoral process in Arizona."

"The result of this collaborative process is an updated manual that should give voters confidence that local and county election officials— have what they need to protect the integrity of our elections," Fontes said. "Election officials and voters have faced unprecedented scrutiny in an atmosphere of increased threats and intimidation by those with a vested interest in sowing doubt about our elections. We have an obligation earn the trust of Arizona's voters."

A copy of the approved 2023 Elections Procedures Manual can be found here.

 

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Aaron Thacker
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