Arizona Edition

Maricopa County elections official moved to ‘undisclosed location’ for his safety following social media threat

An elections official in Maricopa County, Arizona, was moved to an undisclosed location for safety after social media threats related to the midterm elections, the county confirmed Monday to NBC News.

Maricopa County Oversight Board Chairman Bill Gates did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Monday.

Fox10 Phoenix It first broke the news that he was transferred on Sunday.

Election officials like Gates are experiencing increased threat following the lies in the 2020 election and the election of former President Donald Trump. Gates, a Republican, told NBC News before the election that he had cooperated with local police in “sneaky emails and social media posts.”

At a news conference Monday, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said he advised Gates and his family to evacuate to safety overnight because of the threat, which is still under investigation.

“I always overreact to keep people safe,” Penzone said. “I would not allow them to be harmed until they felt they had an opportunity to avoid potential threats that could harm him or his family.”

Penzone said there had been numerous threats against election officials in the state, including from social media and out of state. “We are not going to allow that,” he said.

Maricopa County Supervisory Board Meeting last week Tensions escalated as some attendees claimed conspiracy theories, denounced officials and even called for the election to be annulled.

Maricopa, a center of Trump-pro-election denial in 2020, became a flashpoint in this year’s election as technicians scrambled to fix dozens of broken vote-counting machines on Election Day. Officials rejected claims that the integrity of the election was compromised because it took hours to identify a solution. At the time, officials urged voters at polling stations where machines were out of order to exercise other options, including dropping their ballots in a secure box or going to another location to vote.

“Everyone is still in a stage where they can vote. No one has been disenfranchised,” Gates told reporters in downtown Phoenix on Election Day after reports of equipment problems.

A state judge denied the Republican National Committee’s urgent request for an extension of voting time just before the state’s 9 p.m. .

Gates said on election day that the county’s handling of the situation should give voters more confidence in the election process, when asked if technical issues were fueling more mistrust in the electoral system, NBC News. told to

“There’s a problem,” Gates told NBC News at the time. “Last night they had a problem with the Powerball lottery, didn’t they? Things like this happen, but I’d like to say to them, actually they’re the ones we’re introducing. I understand the kind of redundancy, so this should make you feel better.”

Despite potential safety concerns, Gates continues to tweet explaining videos. Update on vote tallying process A recent Sunday night.

Some Republican politicians and pundits quickly captured the widespread problem of vote-counting machine failures in Arizona’s largest county on Election Day by pushing misleading and false information.

Former President Donald Trump said in a post on Truth social accounts that Arizona had “another major voter counting problem” and that Maricopa County had “voter integrity completely at stake.” rice field.

The word “cheating” also trended on Twitter on Election Day morning, with some accounts posting a video of election officials informing a crowd in Anthem, Arizona that one set of ballots would not go ahead. It amplified the burgeoning right-wing conspiracy theories. Aggregate tools were not working. Officials were seen instructing voters to put their ballots in “Box 3.” The ballots are counted manually there or entered into a counting machine later. This is the routine method for counting ballots if the tallying machine is down.

Trump-backed Republican candidate for governor of Arizona Kari Lake and Arizona Republican chairman Kelly Ward were among several prominent Twitter accounts who shared the video to cast doubt on the election process. was included. Both Lake and Ward support baseless allegations of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. The lake was raided on Monday Maricopa County officials spoke of both technical problems on election night and the protracted counting of votes.

At a press conference on Monday, Mr Penzone called on political leaders to be more accountable and declined to name Lake.

“There are a lot of candidates who say things they shouldn’t say,” he said. Raise your voice and argue that this kind of threat is not right.” We are just as good against our opponents as they are against us. ”

Maricopa County is the fourth largest county in the nation and is widely considered to be key to the Arizona election. Most ballots in battleground states are cast within counties, where election results usually match statewide results.

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