ARIZONA ELECTION

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell concedes election, out of office

Nov 15, 2016, 12:16 PM | Updated: 1:37 pm
(AP Photo/Ryan VanVelzer, File)...
(AP Photo/Ryan VanVelzer, File)
(AP Photo/Ryan VanVelzer, File)

PHOENIX — The ballots have been counted and the voters have spoken: The head of Maricopa County elections has been ousted from her position.

Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell announced her concession in an email on Tuesday.

“I want to congratulate Adrian Fontes on a hard fought race and give my word that I will do everything I can to make this a seamless transition,” she said.

Purcell also thanked voters for participating in elections and the people who worked in her office.

“I’m forever grateful to have served alongside this team, and I’m eternally indebted to the residents and voters of Maricopa County for affording me the opportunity,” she said.

Purcell was unseated by Democratic challenger Fontes, a lawyer who has run for public office only one other time.

“In this ball game we call politics, I don’t enter the stadium to compete on the field, but instead I enter as an umpire, I am here to call balls and strikes – my job – this job – is to call balls and strikes with integrity, with accountability and with a full-throttle effort to make sure every eligible citizen is able to register and to vote,” Fontes said in a release.

Purcell had been in office since 1988.

Her defeat comes at the end of numerous voting controversies in the county.

In March, Maricopa County made national headlines after voters waited hours in line to cast a ballot in the presidential preference election.

Voters waited in lines for as long as five hours and faced other difficulties. They held Purcell responsible — the number of polling places was cut to 60 save money.

As the March election night dragged on, Purcell initially said that voters could have mailed in early ballots instead of standing of line on election day.

“Well, the voters (are to blame) for getting in line, maybe us for not having enough polling places, or as many as we usually have,” Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said in an interview with Fox 10 on Tuesday night.

“I’m sorry they had to wait that long but I’m glad they went out to vote,” she said.

She later walked those comments back.

Purcell said low turnout in previous elections played a part in the decision to reduce sites.

The secretary of state’s office launched an investigation, Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton demanded a federal investigation and the Democractic Party planned a lawsuit. The latter two said the excessive wait times unfairly targeted minorities.

The Justice Department also looked into the trouble.

But that wasn’t the end. Long voting lines returned as early voting began for November’s general election, with voters again waiting hours to cast ballots.

Those woes were topped by an announcement on election night that 350,000 Maricopa County early ballots would be counted another day, though Purcell said that delay had more to do with a large number of ballots received and the process used to count them than errors by officials.

Arizona Election

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)...
KTAR.com

Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone says election security plan will go up ‘notch’ in fall

Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said after a successful security undertaking in the primary, his office will use much the same plan for the November general election.
2 days ago
(AP photos)...
Danny Shapiro

Maricopa County asks court to sanction Lake, Finchem over ‘demonstrably false’ election suit

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is asking a court to sanction Kari Lake, Mark Finchem and their lawyers for filing an election lawsuit they say is frivolous.
3 days ago
(Jan Brewer and Kari Lake/Facebook Photos)...
KTAR.com

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer wants Lake to stop elections rhetoric, pivot to policy

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Wednesday she wants Republican gubernatorial nominee Kari Lake to stop her elections rhetoric and start focusing on policy issues ahead of November's general election.
3 days ago
People exit the 1891 Courthouse after a meeting with the Pinal County Attorney and Board of Supervi...
Associated Press

Pinal County to waive election costs to cities after primary ballot woes

Pinal County, where the Aug. 2 primary election was beset with multiple issues that led to the firing of its election director, will waive the costs for running municipal elections in 11 cities and towns.
3 days ago
Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio poses for a photo on July 22, 2020, in Fountain Hills, Ar...
Associated Press

Joe Arpaio loses Fountain Hills mayoral race, plans to consult lawyer

Joe Arpaio, the 90-year-old former Arizona sheriff, was defeated Wednesday in a race for mayor of the affluent suburb of Fountain Hills.
3 days ago
(Facebook Photo/Kari Lake; AP Photo/Ross Franklin)...
KTAR.com

Listen: Arizona candidates join KTAR News to discuss platforms ahead of general election

Arizona political candidates are joining KTAR News until the general election to discuss their platforms and why they are the best fit for the role.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Most plumbing problems can be fixed with regular maintenance

Instead of waiting for a problem to happen, experts suggest getting a head start on your plumbing maintenance.
...
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Vaccines are safe if you are pregnant or breastfeeding

Are you pregnant? Do you have a friend or loved one who’s expecting?
...
CANVAS ANNUITY

Best retirement savings rates hit 4.30%

Maximize your retirement savings with guaranteed fixed rates up to 4.30%. Did you know there is a financial product that can give you great interest rates as you build your retirement savings and provide you with a paycheck for life once you retire? It might sound too good to be true but it is not; this product is called an annuity.
Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell concedes election, out of office