AZ election official hides behind threats, Kari Lake refuses to budge

  • A senior Maricopa County elections official said Sunday that he has moved to an “undisclosed location.”
  • Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates made the decision after his office received death threats.
  • Kari Lake, who lost the gubernatorial race, raised doubts about the election and suggested legal action.

A top election official in Arizona’s Maricopa County went into hiding Sunday due to security concerns in the wake of the 2022 midterm elections.

Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates confirmed to local Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV that he has moved to an “undisclosed location” with a security team from the sheriff’s office. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is the most populous in the state, with more than 4.4 million residents.

Gates, a lifelong Republican, is one of the leaders of the Maricopa County Elections Department and has been a strong supporter of county elections.

He has rejected false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump and has since become the target of violent threats and intimidation by right-wing extremists and attacks by members of his own party after the election victory. President Joe Biden in Arizona in 2020.

Problems at polling places in Maricopa County on Nov. 8 have fueled additional protests from other conservatives, most notably failed Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake and her supporters.

Lake, who was endorsed by Trump, lost the election to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, but has since refused to budge, instead casting doubt on the electoral process and vowing to form a legal team.

cited lake long lines at the polls and problems with ticket printers at some polling places in Maricopa County, arguing that the problems made some people unable to vote.

The Associated Press reported that about 17,000 ballots could not be scanned at some sites, but were instead collected and counted by different machines at the county’s main elections office. These ballots were collected in what was called “box three.”

County officials said all votes cast were counted and voters had the option of visiting any polling location, including ones without long lines. Gates also partly blamed Republicans for the long lines, saying scared Republican voters from placing ballots in “box three” to be counted at the electoral headquarters.

“This team, we have accepted our responsibility in this,” Gates said on November 14, according to AP. “But I am not willing to accept responsibility for problems caused by others. And it’s clear to me that those lines were longer because the leaders of a political party were spreading misinformation.”

Arizona Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich wrote a letter Saturday requesting a report from Maricopa County on the problems with the printers and other issues.

In another closely watched Arizona race, incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly fended off a challenge from Trump-backed Republican Blake Masters. Masters also said that “there were obviously a lot of problems with this election,” citing previously long lines and problems with ballot printers, but ultimately asked Kelly to relent.

Gates did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

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