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Taking politics from SOS to protect the ‘sacred right’ to vote

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First and foremost, to the people of Arizona, thank you. I’m grateful for the confidence you’ve placed in me to do this job which, I believe, is at the core of our democracy: protecting the right to vote and ensuring every eligible voter – whether Republican, Democrat, independent, Green or Libertarian – can cast a ballot with confidence that your vote counts and your voice matters.

Katie Hobbs (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Katie Hobbs (Photo by Gage Skidmore/Flickr)

Throughout my career, as a social worker and in the Legislature, my singular focus has been to make government work better for all of us. Whether it was collaborating with Governor Jan Brewer to pass Medicaid expansion, providing health care to thousands of Arizonans, or with Governor Ducey to clear the backlog of untested rape kits, I have placed problem-solving above politics. I will bring that same pragmatic, results-oriented approach to the office of Secretary of State.

When my campaign began 18-months ago, we started with a significant list of issues we knew needed to be addressed. We made this campaign about the elections themselves and listened as you, the voters, told us precisely what you expect.

You want to remove politics from the office and from the way we manage our elections. I pledge not to endorse candidates or ballot measures.

You want us to rebuild relationships with all 15 county recorders and fully support them so they, in turn, can effectively manage elections in their areas. A key step toward achieving this goal and among my highest priorities is working collaboratively with them to update the Elections Procedures Manual.

You want us to make it easier, not harder, for eligible voters to vote. To that end, I will work with members of the Legislature, identify the most promising ideas and work to pass the laws necessary to implement them. I will also oppose efforts by those attempting to place additional restrictions on your right and opportunity to vote.

You want to make sure that your personal information and our election machines are safe from hacking. Cybersecurity is a 24/7/365 challenge. I will create a cybersecurity task force to ensure we are taking every step to protect your information and keep our democracy safe.

Throughout the campaign, I spoke about making elections secure, fair and efficient. Indeed, that is my pledge to every Arizonan: to restore trust to the office and, for the sake of our state and our country, increase citizen participation at every level of government. In return for your trust, I expect you to hold me accountable at every step.

The next several weeks will see a whirlwind of activities as I assess the current operation, make critical hires and create a framework to support your expectations and mine. Nothing about this will be easy, but all of it is essential. Voting is a sacred right. I am proud to protect that right; proud to serve; and proud to have the opportunity to continue to make government work for the benefit of all Arizonans.

— Katie Hobbs is secretary of state-elect.

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The views expressed in guest commentaries are those of the author and are not the views of the Arizona Capitol Times.

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