Threats Force Maricopa Elected Official to Move

Supervisor Bill Gates is in an undisclosed location, protected by deputies
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 21, 2022 1:30 PM CST
Deputies Protecting Maricopa Election Official After Threats
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates gives an update about the ballot counting during a news conference at the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022.   (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

The chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors in Arizona has been moved to an undisclosed location because of security concerns following the midterm elections. Supervisor Bill Gates, a Republican, confirmed the news to Fox 10; he also said the sheriff's office is providing a security detail. He and other local officials have faced threats online and in person from disgruntled voters who have raised unfounded accusations of election fraud over printer problems at some county polling locations on Election Day.

As Fox 10 reported last week, dozens of supporters of Republican candidate Kari Lake crashed a recent Board of Supervisors meeting to confront Gates, calling on him to resign and warning—as one citizen put it—that “the consequences of your actions [will] be on your heads.” Maricopa voters in precincts affected by the printer issues were allowed to cast ballots into a “third box” on Election Day after a judge denied requests from some Republicans to extend voting hours. Officials there continue to insist the process was legal and legitimate, and there is no evidence of fraud or other wrongdoing.

Nonetheless, Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has refused to concede to Democrat Katie Hobbs, telling the Daily Mail in a weekend interview that “the way they run elections in Maricopa County is worse than in banana republics around this world,” and, “I believe at the end of the day … I will become governor.” As the Hill notes, Gates is accustomed to taking heat from fellow Republicans: he also defended Maricopa’s results after the 2020 election, when he and other supervisors also faced threats. Just days after this year’s election—and with threats and accusations already flying—Gates told NPR, “This isn't about partisan politics. It's not about conservative versus liberal. This is about truth versus lies.” The AP called the race for Hobbs, who leads by roughly 18,000 votes (0.6%) with 99% of votes counted. (More Maricopa County stories.)

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