PHOENIX - Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates has confirmed that he moved to an undisclosed location for his safety after security concerns connected to the 2022 midterm elections.
Deputies from the sheriff's office are also providing a security detail, officials said.
Gates, a Republican and one of the leaders of the Maricopa County Elections Department, has been a fierce defender of the county's election system and an outspoken critic of false claims that the 2020 election was stolen.
In a similar vein, Gates has continued to defend the county against continued claims of fraud during the midterms. Some have focused on an issue with printers on Election Day that led to numerous tabulation machines being unable to read some ballots.
His stance has caused a slew of backlash online and in person. Some people were seen launching verbal attacks on Gates during a meeting with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors earlier this week.
Other county officials have reported receiving calls they considered threatening from campaign volunteers.
There has been no evidence of widespread fraud or manipulation of voting machines in 2020 or during this year’s midterm elections.
MSCO holds news conference
Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone held a news conference on threats to elected officials on Nov. 21.
"This last election, have there been threats? Absolutely. Has it been against any one singular individual? No. It was threats were cast broad and wide," said Sheriff Penzone. "They were irresponsible and they were arrogant and they were selfish and they were criminal."
While no arrests have been made in connection with the threats, Sheriff Penzone said all threats will be investigated. Sheriff Penzone also said threats to election officials have been coming in all forms – on social media, e-mails phone calls, and in-person. Many of them came from out of state.
"We do not need interference from people outside the state to tell us how to run an election, or what elected officials are deserving to be in their positions," said Sheriff Penzone. "We get to choose. You don't. And you don't get to threaten the people that lead this state. That's not acceptable. And we're not going to tolerate it."
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