Newly hired Cochise County elections director draws criticism for social media posts

On April 25, 2023, the Cochise County Board of Supervisors voted to hire Bob Bartelsmeyer (pictured right) as county elections director. He will report to the county registrar on the left, David Stevens. Board chair Anne English and some voters expressed concern over the hiring of Bartelsmeyer, who had posted negatively about the election on social media. (Photo Credit: Cochise County via Facebook)

The Cochise County Board of Supervisors voted to hire former La Paz County Election Commissioner Bob Bartelsmeyer to take over the running of the election, with some pointing out that his social media posts stepped into anti-election sentiment. invited criticism.

Bartelsmeyer was recommended for the position by his managing county registrar, David Stevens.

Elections remain contested in the county, where decisions by the Republican majority over counting, certification, and the organization of mandatory elections routinely bring commissions to court.

Most recently, state attorney general Chris Mays sued the commission for organizing election affairs, including its authority to recruit new election officials under Stevens. However, a High Court judge ruled that the move fell within the board’s mandate.

With permission from the High Court, Stevens recommended Bartelsmeyer to replace former campaign manager Lisa Mara.

Mara left the county, citing poor working conditions, after Republican supervisors Peggy Judd and Tom Crosby sued her for refusing to conduct illegal count counting.

Supervisors Judd and Crosby voted in favor of Bartelsmeier, but chairman Anne English voted against hiring him.

Stevens interviewed three applicants and recommended Bartelsmeyer to the board.

Mr. Stevens last week said Bartelsmeier was “very qualified” and in a speech to supervisors yesterday said Mr. Bartelsmeier was “a natural choice” because there were no other candidates who had never been elected before. Choice,” he declared.

Bartelsmeyer came to Cochise with a solid resume. Prior to working for the La Paz elections office, he was an election director in New Mexico, an absentee ballot coordinator in Florida, and a county clerk in Missouri.

But Mr. English and his voters were skeptical of the recommendation.

“We were given absolutely no information on board what was going on in this process,” she said, adding that “it was on the agenda even before I saw a word about this gentleman.” said.

English pointed out that Bartelsmeier asked the county not to contact his most recent former employer. English asked Stevens, “Wasn’t that a red flag?” Stevens said no.

English also raised concerns from voters about Bartelsmeier’s past social media presence. Six county residents spoke out against his employment.

“Would anyone be surprised at the decision to hire this weirdo?” asked Jeff Sturges, a Cochise County resident, pointing to the board’s past actions.

Crosby backed Bartelsmeier and said he didn’t believe it was a “minority view that elections need to be handled with caution”, but Crosby has since said he’s been skeptical of tally machines and storage processes. mentioned a recent speaker questioning the safety of

Bartelsmeier then addressed the board and residents.

he said: “I’m not against machines. I’m a machine person. I think they’re 99.9% accurate.”

Bartelsmeier said he wanted an audit of hand counts to compare against machine counts, but he intended to manually count the percentage of ballots required by state law and election procedure manuals. revealed something.

He then asked the board whether they thought 30 years of experience was enough for the job.

Judd and Crosby then voted in favor and the English voted against.

“I am confident that Bartelsmeyer will provide a bipartisan elections department to run the election,” Stevens said today.

The first day of Bartelsmeier is May 30th.

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