Corporation Commission chairman: Maricopa County supervisors can't be trusted with elections
The Republican chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission said the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors can’t be trusted to administer the county’s elections in 2024, when four of five supervisors could be on the ballot.
Corporation Commission Chair Jim O’Connor made the comments after voting to approve a new water provider for the Rio Verde Foothills residents who lost access to their water supply earlier this year.
He blamed the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for not approving a solution to the community’s water woes sooner, alluding to a decision by the board earlier this year to deny a request by some residents to set up a domestic water improvement district to deal with its water needs.
O’Connor called on voters to get rid of the current Maricopa County supervisors, four of whom are Republicans. But he said he did not trust the supervisors to administer that election.
Three of those Republican supervisors — Clint Hickman, Jack Sellers and Thomas Galvin — are up for reelection in 2024. Supervisor Bill Gates announced he will not seek re-election.
“The good news is we have elections,” O’Connor said. “The scary news is the elections are under the authority of that same Board of Supervisors.”
O’Connor did not answer directly when asked if he was implying the supervisors would attempt to fix their own elections.
“I have no trust that the current Board of Supervisors will handle the administration of this election just as they botched up the '22 election and 2020 election and 2018 election,” he said.
Maricopa County Supervisor Thomas Galvin acknowledged the board needs to fix the problems that occurred in 2022 but pointed out that Maricopa County has won multiple court cases challenging the validity of past elections.
“We’re really just looking forward to the next election, and we’re very proud of the processes that we’ve put in to improve next year,” he said.
But when it comes to allegations of fraud in the 2020 election, Galvin said “there is no there there.”
As for O’Connor’s complaints about previous board water votes, Galvin, who represents the Rio Verde area, said the majority of affected residents didn’t support the domestic water improvement proposal and that’s why he preferred to find a water provider that could then go through the Corporation Commission to bring water to Rio Verde Foothills.
“The Corporation Commission is the state branch to regulate utilities, to regulate water companies … Maricopa County and all other counties in Arizona do not have that power,” he said.
It’s not the first time O’Connor has questioned the efficacy of elections in Arizona.
In 2022, O’Connor unsuccessfully attempted to have the Corporation Commission hold a hearing to convince counties to abandon voting machines.
He also appeared at an event in Tempe alongside prominent promoters of election misinformation and sent flyers to county recorders around the state in Corporation Commission envelopes inviting them to the event, which was titled “The Rise of Truth, The Demise of the Machines.”
The Arizona Mirror reported O’Connor said, “These machines are from the devil.”