A newly elected president is said to have a 100-day honeymoon period before entering a routinely chaotic and combative political arena. I’d hoped the same courtesy would extend to a newly elected Recorder.
It did not.
On my third day in office — Jan. 6 — I sent staff home due to protests and security concerns. On my seventh day, I received a subpoena at 4 p.m. demanding my appearance at the State Capitol the next morning. On my eighth day, I received my first death threat.
In my third week, I presented a budget request for the entire following fiscal year. In my sixth and seventh weeks, I helped oversee and scrutinize the work of the two independent firms evaluating county ballot tabulation equipment. In my ninth week, we successfully concluded the city of Goodyear election.
In my 10th week, I was accused of shredding ballots for an election that I didn’t run, that were securely stored in a continuously videoed internal room I don’t have access to; and that, but for legal disputes, would have ordinarily been long gone by the time I took office. Ostensibly I did all of that to cover up for my political opponent, whom I’d spent the last 12 months criticizing.
Amidst this chaos and craziness, however, I’ve come to love both an office and a staff. It is truly a privilege to be here. The work we do at the Recorder’s Office and Elections Department is fundamental to our economic liberties (through the recordation of property interests) and our civil liberties (through the registration of voters and administration of elections).
The staff boasts many talented professionals who are passionate about the subject matter. Quite a few have been with the office for over 20 years and have developed an unbelievable library of knowledge. I learn from them every day.
Also amidst the chaos and craziness, we’ve notched successes and launched exciting new projects.
Moving forward we’ll provide similar quarterly updates.
Additionally, at the end of the second quarter we will assemble two advisory boards — one for recording, and one for voter registration and elections — with whom we will share our report in order to solicit feedback from a broad range of industries, groups and philosophies.
Thank you for the opportunity.
Republican Stephen Richer is Maricopa County Recorder.