Fontes Administration Showcases Commitment to Fair and Secure Elections Through Comprehensive Training Program

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PHOENIX - Reflecting his dedication to the highest standards in elections administration, Secretary of State Adrian Fontes today announced the successful completion of a rigorous certification and recertification training program for election workers, in preparation for the highly anticipated 2024 Presidential Election cycle.

“I commend Arizona’s diligent election officials for their unyielding commitment to the democratic values that underpin the great state of Arizona,” Secretary Fontes said. “This comprehensive training program stands as a testament to the dedication of administrators and staff across our state to ensure fair, secure, and transparent elections. With the highest standards for training and certification, Arizona continues to be a model for the nation in the administration of elections, setting the gold standard for professionalism and integrity.”

As mandated by A.R.S. § 16-407, the Secretary of State's Office organized an extensive training initiative, bringing together election officers and employees from across Arizona. These dedicated professionals included individuals from county elections and recorder offices, county school superintendent's offices, county attorneys' offices, cities and towns, and legislative staff engaged in elections-related matters. The comprehensive program aimed to empower and equip these election administrators with the knowledge and skills necessary to conduct elections with the utmost professionalism and transparency.

Throughout the summer, initial certification training sessions were conducted in Phoenix, Tucson, and Flagstaff. The training for first-time certification consisted of a hybrid model that encompassed a total of 17 online classes, complemented by  in addition to three days of intensive, in-person training covering an additional 24 essential topics. In total, 154 election officers completed this initial certification, further enhancing their expertise and competence in election administration.

This fall, all election officers, including those who had previously undergone initial certification, started the recertification process. This vital training phase utilized a similar hybrid approach, comprising 10 online modules. Crucial online subjects included statutory and legal updates, ethics, ethical considerations, auditing procedures, chain of custody, ballot drop box security, information technology security, accommodating observers, and best practices for outreach.

To ensure a comprehensive approach to election administration, participants also joined a one-day workshop encompassing four pivotal sections: the development of standard operating procedures, risk management and contingency planning, effective emergency communication strategies within elections, and techniques for de-escalation. A total of 466 election officers in these recertification programs honed their skills to ensure the highest standards in election administration.

In a commitment to transparency and professionalism, all certified election officers signed a code of conduct as part of recertification. This code is a collective pledge to uphold impartiality, election security, and accessibility for all eligible Arizona voters. This voluntary commitment to the highest ethical standards reflects the dedication of Arizona's election administrators to conducting elections that instill trust and confidence in the democratic process.

 

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Aaron Thacker
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