An Arizona election official went into hiding over threats as Trump-backed Kari Lake refuses to concede




  • In Politics
  • 2022-11-21 02:01:43Z
  • By Business Insider
Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.Joshua Roberts, Pool/Associated Press
Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.Joshua Roberts, Pool/Associated Press  
  • A top election official in Maricopa County said Sunday he moved to an "undisclosed location."

  • Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates made the move after his office received death threats.

  • Kari Lake, who lost the governor race, raised doubts about the election and suggested legal action.

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

Maricopa County Supervisor Bill Gates confirmed to the local Fox affiliate KSAZ-TV that he moved to an "undisclosed location" with a security detail from the sheriff's office. Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix, is the state's most populous, 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 staunch defender of the county's elections.

He has rejected the 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 President Joe Biden's Arizona win in 2020.

Issues at polling locations in Maricopa County on November 8 have fueled additional outcry from other conservatives, especially 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 concede, instead casting doubt on the election process and promising to assemble a legal team.

Lake cited long lines at the polls and issues with ballot printers at some polling locations in Maricopa County, arguing the issues made it so some people were unable to vote.

The Associated Press reported about 17,000 ballots were unable to be scanned at some sites but were instead collected and counted by different machines at the county's main elections office. Those ballots were collected in what was called "box three."

County officials said every ballot cast was counted and that voters had the option to visit any polling place, which included some without long lines. Gates also partially blamed the long lines on Republicans and said they scared GOP voters away from placing ballots in "box three" to be counted at election headquarters.

"This team, we have accepted our responsibility in this," Gates said on November 14, according to AP. "But I'm not willing to accept responsibility for issues that were caused by others. And it is clear to me that those lines were longer because leaders in one political party were spreading misinformation."

Arizona's Republican attorney general, Mark Brnovich, on Saturday wrote a letter 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-endorsed Republican Blake Masters. Masters also said there were "obviously a lot of problems with this election," previously citing long lines and issues with ballot printers, but ultimately called Kelly to concede.

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

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