Maricopa County to Require Press Pass to Cover 2022 Election

Maricopa County announced Tuesday that it will now require a press pass for media personnel to enter its facilities or cover events related to the 2022 general election.

“Because of logistical and security considerations, it is impossible to give the public and media limitless access to members of the Board of Supervisors, the County Recorder and election experts for events such as press conferences and availabilities,” according to a statement from Maricopa County.

A pass will allow journalists to attend news conferences or enter the elections department’s office to conduct interviews. According to the county, someone is a “member of the press” if they pass evaluation on several criteria, including the parent company having published news continuously for 18 months with a publication or established television or radio presence, and the petitioner is a “bona fide correspondent of repute,” among other requirements.

When filling out the form to receive the pass, the media personnel must certify they are a journalist without a “conflict of interest” or association that would “compromise my journalistic integrity.” Pass seekers must also ensure they do not receive money or special treatment from political organizations and are not paid to advocate for a political party.

The Arizona Sun Times reached out to Maricopa County for more information on pass requirements but did not receive a response.

This new rule followed the creation of the Maricopa County 2022 Elections Command Center (MCECC). The center will consist of six elected officials and a team of professionals, such as county recorder Stephen Richer and chairman Bill Gates, for the purpose of sharing election information with voters and combating disinformation. The MCECC will host regular news conferences leading up to the election for media members with the pass.

However, the Gateway Pundit reported that the pass rule and MCECC might be an attempt by the county to keep news outlets from reporting on the truth of the election. Reporter Jordan Conradson wrote that the requirements to receive a pass should disallow outlets with a left-wing bias from attending a conference, but that would probably not be the case. Instead, he wrote it would likely allow leftist organizations that spread “Russian collusion” theories during the 2016 election to attend while barring conservative organizations. Moreover, the outlet compared the MCECC to the Biden administration’s failed Disinformation Governance Board.

Earlier in 2022, the Biden administration launched a “ministry of truth,” which Department of Homeland (DHS) Executive Director Nina Jankowicz would oversee. The administration created the board to combat what it deemed as misinformation, but it was paused just three weeks after being announced and later terminated entirely, following backlash.

In response to the press pass, the independent polling and media company Rasmussen Reports said Maricopa County is afraid of media exposure.

Moreover, the War Room for Arizona’s Republican attorney general nominee Abe Hamadeh spoke out against the pass, calling it an attack on the free press while other journalists defended the rule as a common process.

“We’re sure this process won’t be used to shut out any form of dissenting media,” the War Room tweeted on Tuesday.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]com.




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