The Daily Agenda: Maricopa County Needs a Few Thousand Good People

click to enlarge The Daily Agenda: Maricopa County Needs a Few Thousand Good People
Maricopa County Elections Department
You think anyone really wants to know how this election stuff works?

It's Politico v. Wade ... Legislative Ethics Committee is an oxymoron ... And be nice to everyone, just in case.

Editor's note: The Arizona Agenda is a Substack newsletter about Arizona government and politics run by Rachel Leingang and Hank Stephenson. You can find their archives and subscribe at

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors and county election officials tried to get ahead of the next election conspiracies yesterday with a two-hour meeting to explain their elections procedures to anyone willing to listen. 

But in the county that captured the nation’s attention as the epicenter of claims of a stolen presidential election, few tuned in to the board’s attempt to explain how elections work and combat disinformation.

The board went over its detailed plan outlining the county’s 2022 election procedures, which covers how the county will recruit and train poll workers, process early ballots, set up voting locations and tabulate ballots. And they talked about the county’s contingency plans for the inevitable occasions when things don’t go according to Plan A. 

“We’re ready for the 2022 election,” Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo said. “We’re always gonna have the naysayers. We’re always gonna have folks who are going to throw rocks… They’ll continue to live in a fantasy world. They’ll continue to cast conspiracies and false statements. And we just have to continue to push back and tell the voters the truth and tell them exactly what the plan is for 2022.”

The big news was no more Sharpies on Election Day! Not because they don’t work, but just to stop the madness. 

The plan is chock full of fun facts, graphics, statistics and nitty-gritty details of the upcoming election and is worth a skim for anyone who’s trying to beef up their knowledge of how elections really work — not the Cyber Ninjas version. 

What average voters need to know:

  • Independent voters can vote in the primary election. But voters on the active early voting list will not automatically be sent a ballot — independents need to pick which primary to vote in. To get a mail ballot, call your county recorder before July 22 and tell them which party’s primary you want to vote in. Or just show up during early voting or on Election Day and tell officials which primary election ballot you want.¹

  • Voters in Maricopa County can track their mail-in ballots and see if there are any questions about their signature. To get text updates about the status of your ballot, text “JOIN” to 628-683. 

  • Your ballot will not be automatically forwarded if you tell the post office to forward your mail. If you’re going to be out of town in the summer or fall and want to get your ballot, tell your county recorder. They can send it to another temporary address.

  • Maricopa County uses a “voting center” model that means you can vote on Election Day at any polling site, not just your neighborhood polling location. To find a list of Maricopa County voting centers, along with the wait times on Election Day, click here

  • Now is a good time to ensure you’re registered to vote at your correct address. Hank apparently never updated his voter registration after the last move. Good thing he checked! In Maricopa County, you can check your registration here. You can register to vote or change your address, regardless of which county you live in, here.

The board and elections officials also pleaded with citizens to become part of the election. They desperately need competent workers to help with the massive undertaking. 

Being an election official has become a harrowing experience in recent years. Just yesterday, Ken Matta, the longtime chief security officer at the Secretary of State’s Office and architect of the “shitstorm election” tabletop exercise we wrote about last week, announced he was leaving the field in part because of the threats the job now brings. 

Fraud believers are drafting hoards of temporary workers and volunteers to get involved in the election. We can only hope that helping to run an election will force them to recognize the incredible level of planning, work and oversight that goes into it. 

The county is hiring 3,300 temporary poll workers for lots of different positions, including signature verifiers, warehouse workers and phone-answerers. Some of the positions work only on Election Day while others are for the weeks and months ahead of the election. Click here to view the openings. 

And if protecting democracy isn’t enough incentive for you, the county increased the pay to up to $20 per hour, depending on the position. 

Hank already signed up to work the polls this year as one of his many side hustles. Help us have fewer jobs so we can do more newslettering. Become one of our paying subscribers now! It’s only $8 per month.

Subscribe now

It’s (kinda) official: Politico broke some long-expected news yesterday: The U.S. Supreme Court voted down Roe v. Wade, according to a leaked draft opinion in which Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, declares, “Roewas egregiously wrong from the start.” The draft opinion, assuming it holds, would mean states like Arizona with dormant bans that are still on the books or new partial bans after 15 weeks of pregnancy (Arizona has both) can start banning abortions or even prosecuting women who seek them. And Politico’sdecision to release the draft opinion, the only leaked draft in modern history, is ruffling feathers from conservatives who view it as an attempt to sway the justices before the decision is final. 

“Deliberations on controversial cases have in the past been fluid. Justices can and sometimes do change their votes as draft opinions circulate and major decisions can be subject to multiple drafts and vote-trading, sometimes until just days before a decision is unveiled. The court’s holding will not be final until it is published, likely in the next two months,” Politico wrote.

Subpoena or no dice: Congress’ Jan. 6 committee wants to talk to U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs about meetings he had in the lead-up to the insurrection and conversations with former Trump chief of staff Mark Meadows, a letter from the committee released Monday says. Predictably, Biggs said he won’t be voluntarily talking to the committee, calling it “illegitimate and Democrat-sympathizing” and comparing it to the Salem witch trials.

The fact so many lawmakers moonlight as consultants …: A lengthy ethics complaint alleges that Arizona Democrats Rep. Robert Meza and Sen. Lisa Otondo violated ethics rules, Arizona Public Media’s Andrew Oxford reports. The complaint largely focuses on Meza’s work as a consultant in the health care field while in office. In Otondo’s case, the complaint claims she “knowingly facilitated the misconduct.” The Senate Ethics Committee voted yesterday to extend the timeline to address the complaint, with Democratic Sens. Victoria Steele and Stephanie Stahl Hamilton voting against continuing the process. Steele called the complaint a “fishing expedition.” 

Making promises like a lawmaker already: Matt Gress, Gov. Doug Ducey’s budget director who’s also running for the Legislature in District 4, took campaign donations from lobbyists despite a promise not to do so while the legislative session was going on, KJZZ’s Matthew Casey reports. Gress said the lobbyists’ donations were not from session and that he’d be amending his campaign finance report to reflect that.

The school board vs the world: The Scottsdale Unified School District became the focal point for partisan hostility during COVID-19, as scandals over public meetings and a Google Drive dossier enveloped the board. And now it’s election time, and Republican candidates come to meetings to protest all sorts of things, including the “communist school board,” the Republic’s Renata Cló reports. 

Water sirens blaring: Republic columnist Joanna Allhands sounds the alarmabout water problems in places like Pine-Strawberry and Willcox, saying it’s easier and better to prevent overtaxing groundwater in the first place than trying to replace it after the fact. One way to do that would require the Legislature to act on loopholes for water supplies for developments, she posits. And in some dark related news, the water levels at Lake Mead are so low that a dead body believed to be from the 1980s surfaced in the receding waters.

A solution to more than one problem: A new state program helps caregivers get training that qualifies them to get paid to provide care for their children who need long-term health care, University of Arizona Don Bolles Fellow Gloria Gomez reports. Two other states do the same, and these programs help parents earn money while providing care amid a shortage of nurses who would otherwise take care of the health needs of medically fragile children. 

Hindsight is always 20/20: Liberal Republic columnist EJ Montini writes that media scrutiny didn’t lead to Allister Adel’s death, but she could’ve been treated with more compassion for the conditions she battled while in office. Montini says someone with cancer or a heart condition wouldn’t have received the same harshness she did for having an addiction and mental health issues, though the missteps in her office couldn’t be ignored by the press either.

The final straw: Democratic attorney general candidate Kris Mayes called on Attorney General Mark Brnovich to resign from his position yesterday, pointing to an AZFamily investigation that showed the office used consumer fraud funds for other purposes. Meanwhile, an internal poll from GOP U.S. Senate candidate Jim Lamon shows that Lamon took first place in that race over Brnovich, though the polling for the U.S. Senate seat has largely shown the biggest chunk of voters still undecided, Politico reports.

One of many dangerous Phoenix intersections: The intersection at Seventh and Southern avenues in South Phoenix doesn’t have enough left-turn signals, resulting in regular crashes and traffic getting backed up, the Republic’s Megan Taros reports. A community group is trying to change that, but running into bureaucratic obstacles. 

Dreaming of the rain: Arizona’s monsoons don’t just smell like creosote. Instead, we’re sniffing the scents of about 60 different plants that combine to create that distinct, heady rain smell, the Arizona Daily Star’s Henry Brean reports. 

There are still no signs of a budget deal, but a plan to spend $400 billion on expanding I-10 between Chandler and Casa Grande passed both chambers and awaits Gov. Doug Ducey’s signature now. 

Senate Bill 1239, sponsored by Republican Sen. T.J. Shope, got near-unanimous approval in both chambers. Ducey supports the widening of the freeway, but in years past has not signed budget-related bills before a full budget deal. 

The state money will help draw down federal funds for the $1 billion project that is expected to be completed by 2026, Capitol Media Services’ Howie Fischer reports

Former Tucson to Phoenix commuter Hank loves this bill. The drive between the two cities is often backed up and dangerous as all hell. 

Instead of making more pithy remarks today, we want to hear from all of you smart people.

We know some of you readers have spent too much time watching legislatures in other states as well. We want to know: What were other statehouses like compared to Arizona’s? What have you seen as the main differences? Any similarities?

1. Independent voters cannot, however, vote in Presidential Preference Primary elections during presidential election cycle. Those are run by the parties, which have both chosen in recent years to keep independent voters out.