A Maricopa County election official moved to an undisclosed location on Election Day due to the threats



CNN

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors spokesman Bill Gates confirmed that he was moved to an undisclosed location on Election Day due to threats to his safety.

Gates, a Republican, plays a prominent role in running elections for Arizona’s largest county. During the state’s midterm elections, he publicly rejected Republican suggestions that there were issues with the way the county conducted the election.

Zach Schirra, a spokesman for Gates, told CNN that the superintendent also receives increased security while carrying out his official duties.

Maricopa County spokesman Jason Perry told CNN that Gates was taken to an undisclosed location on Election Day after there was a specific threat against Gates on social media. He was under the protection of the sheriff’s office and stayed at an undisclosed location that night.

Perry said there has been an uptick in threats to election workers and election officials around the election as well as the primaries earlier this year. Maricopa County became the epicenter of the electoral conspiracy theory world after then-President Donald Trump lost the state in 2020.

“The chairman has said before that the environment we’re in, where people spread misinformation, has definitely not helped, and we’ve seen that over the last couple of years, not just this election, 2020 and then 2021 with the review. So I think it’s, unfortunately, been That’s kind of where we were a couple of years ago and it kind of ebbed and flowed,” Perry told CNN.

Katie Hobbs, the state’s Democratic-elect governor, responded to the news on “CNN This Morning.”

We can’t afford it. Hobbs said. “I think we pretty much survived this last election. We helped save democracy but it’s not over yet. We have to continue to be vigilant and hold these people accountable for the dangerous political rhetoric that causes this kind of threat.”

Republican candidates running for Senate, governor, attorney general and secretary of state in Arizona have been promoting falsehoods about central parts of the 2020 election from their campaigns. Senate candidate Blake Masters, gubernatorial candidate Carrie Lake, and Secretary of State candidate Mark Finchim lost their elections, and the race for Arizona Attorney General is still very close.

Gates has been fighting back against false claims made by GOP candidates at press conferences and media appearances. He also posted several videos on Twitter answering questions about the election process and explaining in more detail how votes are counted.

On Election Day, there was an issue with printers at some Maricopa polling sites, and although Maricopa election officials made it clear that a printer malfunction would not prevent anyone from voting, the Republicans seized on the issue.

A Maricopa County judge, who was asked to adjudicate the case, said there was no evidence that anyone who wanted to vote wasn’t able to. Voters were instructed to place their ballot papers in a secure ballot box to be counted instead of putting them into a machine due to the problem with the printer.

Lake, who has been endorsed by Trump, has not conceded in the race in the wake of her loss to Democrat Katie Hobbs and continues to make unsubstantiated claims as she tries to sow doubts about the way the state’s elections were conducted. Masters, also a prominent election denier who supports Trump, called on Democratic Senator Mark Kelly to concede but said “there are clearly a lot of problems with this election.” Finchim did not concede, and still spread lies about the election and called for new elections.

This story has been updated with additional developments.

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