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Fontes files suit asking to continue using virtual options for isolated voters

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome, file)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes filed a lawsuit Friday in an effort to protect ballot access for at-risk voters in medical isolation.

Fontes alleged that virtual technology used in Maricopa County in August’s primary election because of coronavirus protections should continue being used for November’s general election.

The county utilized special election boards made up of two members from different political parties to help voters who had restricted access due to COVID-19 and were physically unable to fill out a ballot themselves during the primary.

The process helped 10 out of more than 860,00 metro Phoenix residents who voted in the election.

Fontes said he expected to use the same process in the general election if COVID-19 restrictions were in place.

Uncertainty boiled earlier this week over the likelihood of that process after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and Secretary of State Katie Hobbs sparred this week over changes to upcoming election guidelines.

Hobbs had issued new guidelines to help voters in long-term care facilities through the coronavirus pandemic, but Ducey’s office accused her of cheating.

“Gaining access to voters in these restricted facilities and places has been complicated due to COVID-19, but I still must allow them their right to vote,” Fontes said in a press release.

“There is no time to waste bickering about how to do that.”

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