Arizona inauguration: Katie Hobbs vows to fight voting restrictions as secretary of state
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs speaks to the crowd following her inauguration in Phoenix on Jan. 7, 2019. The Republic | azcentral.com
New Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs vowed to "restore faith and confidence" in the office Monday during at public inauguration ceremony at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix.
Hobbs, a Democrat who won a narrow victory in November over Republican Steve Gaynor, alluded to a string of election-related snafus in recent years, including long lines at the polls.
"You never again want to arrive at a polling place to see long lines and wait times so lengthy you're disenfranchised as a voter simply because you had to get to work or school or home and could wait no longer," she said.
The secretary of state oversees a wide array of administrative functions, but the most visible is the statewide elections system. Hobbs made clear that will be her priority.
While Hobbs struck a bipartisan tone in her short speech, she also signaled she will oppose any efforts by the Republican-dominated Legislature or Gov. Doug Ducey to limit access to the polls.
"I will oppose any effort to place any additional restrictions on your right to vote," she said.
Hobbs outlined several priorities:
- She said she will create a cybersecurity task force to advise the state on new ways to keep voter information secure. She vowed to ensure there's an "ironclad barrier between your vote and the cyber criminals that would compromise it."
- She will work to repair relationships with county recorders, who oversee elections at the local level. Hobbs added that her office will work with them to create a new statewide elections manual.
Hobbs, a former state senator from Phoenix, replaces outgoing Secretary of State Michele Reagan, a Republican who was defeated by Gaynor in her party's primary last summer.
In Arizona, the secretary of state is essentially the lieutenant governor, next in line to succeed Ducey if he were to leave office early.
She is the first Democrat to hold the seat since former Secretary of State Richard Mahoney left office in early 1995. Hobbs took the oath of office alongside her husband, Pat, and their two children.
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