Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone says election security plan will go up ‘notch’ in fall

Aug 12, 2022, 4:15 AM

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)...

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

(AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said after a successful security undertaking in the primary his office will use much the same plan in the general election.

For the most part, he told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Thursday, election workers were able to go about their business without incident at polling places where plainclothes deputies were stationed Aug. 2.

“We’re pretty happy. In November, we’ll turn it up a notch because we know that the turnout is going to be more, the intensity is going to be higher,” Penzone said.

“A lot is at stake, so we’ll continue on the course we’ve been on. It’s just a matter of being organized and being ahead of the problems.”

In the weeks leading up to the primary, Penzone promised to dedicate resources to helping election workers feel safe on-site and spoke with Maricopa County Supervisor Chair Bill Gates and Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer.

“A lot of the credit goes to … Richer – he did such a great job,” Penzone said.

“We were ahead of the issues in a lot of places, which was good because I think it kind of sent the message we’d hoped for: come, vote, have a great day [but] don’t be a distraction, don’t be an intimidator, don’t create problems.”

It wasn’t a perfect day, by any means.

“The things we saw weren’t criminal, they were just unnecessary, almost bullying tactics,” Penzone said.

The sheriff said some election workers were recorded on cellphones going into and out of polling sites and the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office on Election Day.

That issue was quickly resolved, Penzone said.

“What complaints we see on election night, that the ballots take too long to get counted, that they need to get done. Well, that takes people power and if you’re scaring people from being a part of that process, then how can you expect the results or the process to run efficiently?

“You’re creating the problem and complaining about the problem. Either be part of the solution or get out of the way.”

The general election is Nov. 8.

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Maricopa County Sheriff Penzone says election security plan will go up ‘notch’ in fall