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Maricopa County Election Official Hid Out On Election Day Over Threats: Report

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OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.


The top Maricopa County, Arizona, election official was nowhere to be found on Election Day, and now his disappearance has been explained, according to a new report. CNN said on Tuesday that Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates “was moved to an undisclosed location on Election Day due to threats to his safety,” according to a spokesperson.

The outlet continued: “Gates, a Republican, plays a prominent role in administering elections for Arizona’s largest county. During the midterms, he publicly pushed back against Republican suggestions that there were issues with the way the county conducted the election. Zach Schira, a spokesperson for Gates, told CNN the supervisor is also receiving increased security as he performs his official duties.”

Maricopa County spokesperson Jason Berry told the network that Gates was moved to an undisclosed location on Election Day due to an unspecified threat that was posted to social media. He was chaperoned by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department and remained at the location for one night, the report said.

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Berry also claimed that there was an increase in threats against election workers ahead of Election Day Nov. 8.

“The chairman has said before that the environment that we’re in, where people are spreading misinformation, certainly has not helped, and we’ve seen that over the last two years, not just this election, 2020 and then 2021 with the audit. So I think that, unfortunately, this has sort of been where we’ve been for a couple of years and it sort of ebbs and flows,” Berry told CNN.

In the wake of the Arizona gubernatorial election, which some media outlets have already called for Democratic candidate Katie Hobbs, currently the secretary of state, her GOP challenger, Kari Lake, has been calling out Election Day problems throughout Maricopa County, and has since warned Gates to “preserve” all documents related to complaints and other issues that have been made with the state attorney general’s office. That suggests she could be mounting a legal challenge to the results, if not the process of how the election was conducted in various parts of the county.

Earlier this week, Lake released a video to all Arizonans suggesting that further action regarding complaints filed with the state AG’s office could be coming.

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“Hi, this is Kari Lake, and I have a message to the people of Arizona and all Americans. 40 days ago, elections in Arizona officially started when mail-in ballots were sent out across our state. Election day was 13 days ago, and Maricopa County is still counting ballots,” Lake began.

“Would you get on an airplane if half of the engines didn’t work? Would our friends in the media be able to broadcast their nightly propaganda if only half of their studio equipment was working?” Lake asked.

Lake praised Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for demanding answers to the various issues that arose in Maricopa County on Election Day.

WATCH:

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The contest was so close that, by state law, it may go to a recount, Fox News reported:

Lake is a former TV news anchor who stepped down last year after 22 years with the Fox affiliate in Phoenix to run for governor. Thanks in part to her strong support for former President Trump and his unproven claims that the 2020 election was “stolen” and rigged,” Trump endorsed and heavily backed Lake as she narrowly won the GOP nomination over a candidate backed by term-limited GOP Gov. Doug Ducey.

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“She stressed her support for protecting abortion rights during her campaign, and also emphasized her plan to work with law enforcement and border communities to beef up Arizona’s border security with Mexico. Lake heavily criticized Hobbs for refusing to take part in gubernatorial debates. Hobbs said debating Lake would result in giving a platform to conspiracy theories,” Fox News added.

Arizona Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright has said she will not certify the election between Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Katie Hobbs until she gets answers to the questions surrounding the voting in Maricopa County.

“These complaints go beyond pure speculation, but include first-hand witness accounts that raise concerns regarding Maricopa’s lawful compliance with Arizona election law,” the assistant attorney general said in a letter to a top elections official, the Daily Mail reported.

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