Maricopa County Elections Official Appears to Break Down At Press Conference Over Coronavirus Concerns
An election director for Arizona’s biggest county appeared to break down while giving a press conference about measures to safeguard polling places from coronavirus for Tuesday’s presidential primary walking away from the podium and stating “sorry, I can’t do this.”
Scott Jarrett is the Election Director for the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office. His agency, along with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office, has faced criticism in recent days for declining to formally reschedule Tuesday’s primary to a later date on account of the coronavirus.
Watch the strange press conference here:
Jarrett simply walked away from the podium, telling his colleagues that he “can’t do this.”
Jarrett was explaining why the county is shutting down 78 of its polling places situated in venues such as senior homes that no longer can responsibly host the voting public without putting older members of the community at risk.
He appeared extremely nervous during the briefing, stuttering and slurring his words. Officials with the Recorder’s office explained that he had been preparing for the freak situation non-stop, working without sleeping for days.
Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes took the unusual step of arbitrarily deciding to send mail-in early ballots to all registered Democrats(Arizona has canceled its Republican Presidential Primary) in the county. He’s invoking the threat of the coronavirus as a rationale for treating all voters as members of the permanent early ballot list, a designation that Arizona voters have to choose for themselves when registering to vote.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs- A Democrat herself- rebuked Fontes for his unusual and legally questionable move, explaining that state law differentiates between voters who choose to sign up for the early ballot list and do not.
Arizona’s largest county appears set for an election day nightmare on Tuesday, with the cavalier actions of the controversial Democrat County Recorder on one hand and the threat of the Chinese coronavirus coming to polling places on the other.