The League of Women Voters of Northwest Maricopa County presented former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes with the organization’s first ever Guardian of Our Democracy award May 3 at the annual meeting. Mr. Fontes was given the award during a meeting conducted virtually in recognition of his service empowering voters and his support for the core values and league’s mission, including defending democracy, helping people participate in the democratic processes, believing in the power of women and promoting diversity and inclusion. “We were so happy to present Mr. Fontes with that award. We really felt he is deserving of it with all the crazy stuff going in our state and around the country right now,” said Becky Sayler, with the League of Women Voters of Northwest Maricopa County. Mr. Fontes, a Democrat, oversaw the county elections during the 2018 and contentious 2020 cycle. He lost in the November election to Republican Stephen Richer. The Maricopa County Recorder’s Office is responsible for a number of functions, including recording county documents as well as administering county elections.
Ms. Sayler developed the award for the organization after seeing a need to recognize people who advocated for the League of Women Voters’ core mission. The board approved the award. “This award acknowledges someone who has repeatedly gone above and beyond to protect voting, voting rights and our democracy,” Ms. Sayler said. “This person is also someone who advocates for and supports the core values and mission of the League of Women Voters. The award will not be given out on a regular basis and will only be awarded for exceptional actions and behavior.” On a statewide level, a major focus for the League of Women Voters continues to be on voting rights and elections administration. The group regularly speaks out on issues regarding voter suppression legislation, ballot initiative restrictions and efforts to weaken the Clean Elections Commission and Independent Redistricting Commission. Ms. Sayler said organization staff encourages members to get involved with supporting elections, including working at the polls. “A key area for our specific chapter in the upcoming year is to educate voters about how important it is to vote in all elections and vote for every position up and down the ballot. And about how their vote can directly impact their lives,” she added. The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and influence public policy through education and advocacy. Its main mission is to empower voters and defend democracy.
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