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Maricopa County elections official moved to ‘undisclosed location’ for his safety following social media threat

A prime elections official in Maricopa County, Arizona, has been moved to an undisclosed location for his security following threats on social media associated the midterm elections, the county confirmed to NBC Information on Monday.

The official, Invoice Gates, the chairman of the Maricopa County board of supervisors, didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon Monday.

Fox10 Phoenix first reported the information of him being moved on Sunday.

Election employees like Gates have skilled an increase in threats following the 2020 election and former President Donald Trump’s election lies. Gates, a Republican, advised NBC Information forward of the election that he had been working with native regulation enforcement amid “vile emails and social media posts.”

A Maricopa County Board of Supervisors assembly final week grew tense as some attendees pushed conspiracy theories, berated officers and even demanded that the election be nullified.

Maricopa, which was the guts of pro-Trump election denialism in 2020, turned a flashpoint throughout this yr’s elections as technicians scrambled to repair dozens of malfunctioning vote tabulation machines on Election Day. It took hours earlier than an answer was recognized, prompting officers to rebuff claims that the integrity of the election was compromised. Officers on the time urged voters at polling websites the place machines had malfunctioned to train different choices, together with both dropping their ballots off in a safe field or going to a different location to vote.

“Everybody continues to be attending to vote. Nobody has been disenfranchised,” Gates advised reporters in downtown Phoenix on Election Day, following stories of apparatus issues.

A state choose denied an emergency request by the Republican Nationwide Committee to increase voting hours simply forward of the closing of state polls at 9 p.m. ET., saying that the GOP failed to point out that anybody was truly prevented from voting.

Requested about whether or not the technical points have been additional fueling mistrust within the election system, Gates advised NBC Information on Election Day that the county’s dealing with of the state of affairs ought to give voters confidence within the election course of.

“We have now hiccups,” Gates advised NBC Information on the time. “That they had a hiccup with the Powerball drawing final night time, proper? This stuff occur, however I might say to them, truly this could make them really feel good as a result of they see the kind of redundancies that we’ve got in place.”

Regardless of potential security considerations, Gates has been tweeting movies during which he explains the latest updates in the vote count process as not too long ago as Sunday night time.

Some GOP politicians and pundits swiftly seized on the widespread challenge of malfunctioning vote tabulation machines in Arizona’s largest county on Election Day by pushing deceptive or false info.

In a put up to his Reality Social account, former President Donald Trump wrote that Arizona had “one other massive voter tabulation drawback” and Maricopa County was a “full Voter Integrity DISASTER.” 

The phrase “dishonest” additionally trended on Twitter on the morning of Election Day, with some accounts amplifying a burgeoning right-wing conspiracy concept drawing from a single video in Anthem, Arizona, during which an election employee knowledgeable a crowd {that a} pair of vote tabulators weren’t working. The employee is seen telling voters to position their ballots in “Field 3,” the place they’d get counted manually or later fed into the tabulator, a routine approach to depend ballots within the case of a tabulator outage.

Kari Lake, the GOP candidate for Arizona governor endorsed by Trump, and Arizona GOP Chairwoman Kelli Ward have been amongst a number of distinguished Twitter accounts who shared the video in an effort to sow doubt on the election course of. Each Lake and Ward have espoused baseless claims of fraud within the 2020 presidential election.

Maricopa is the fourth-largest county within the nation and is broadly thought-about the important thing to Arizona elections. A lot of the battleground state’s ballots are solid within the county and the outcomes of an election there sometimes match the end result statewide.

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