Maricopa County taking precautions with Supervisor Bill Gates’ safety after election

Nov 21, 2022, 11:47 AM | Updated: 11:53 am
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates gives an update about the ballot counting ...
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates gives an update about the ballot counting during a news conference at the Maricopa County Recorders Office in Phoenix, Thursday, Nov. 10, 2022. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

PHOENIX – Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates said security details and a move to an undisclosed location were not interfering with his elections duties or any of his other tasks.

“This is not impacting me doing my work on the election, or generally, any one of the 50 lines of business that we’re in at Maricopa County,” Gates told KTAR 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Monday.

The Washington Post reported Saturday that Gates had been moved from his home to an undisclosed location by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office because of safety concerns in the days around the Nov. 8 election.

Gates acknowledged the move but downplayed it.

“I’m not in hiding. … This issue has really been blown out of proportion,” he said.

Gates didn’t give specifics Monday but said, “I’ll put it this way: when [Sheriff Paul Penzone] suggests that I spend the night somewhere else, I do it,” and added he was more concerned for the safety of the election workers.

“Threats of violence should never be normalized, of course, and I am, in particular, more concerned with our elections workers who have been dealing with this, not only here in Maricopa County but, really, nationwide for the past two years,” the board chair said.

The state’s largest county has been taking heat after a technical issue affected in-person voting on Election Day. Tabulation problems caused by incorrect printer were reported at about 70 of the county’s 223 voting centers.

Voters at the affected polling sites were directed to cast their ballots at another center or drop them into a secure Box 3 container. Those particular ballots, about 17,000, would be run through the tabulator at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center.

“These votes were counted either way, whether they were run through the tabulator at the vote center or they’re run through the tabulator at our central count facility,” Gates said.

He said elections workers racked up 14-hour days over the past two weekends.

“Republicans, Democrats and independents who have made this election work,” Gates said. “It’s your neighbors, it’s your mom, it’s your dad, it’s your grandma. We just can’t lose our focus on that.

“That’s what this is all about – making sure that every legal vote counts.”

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Maricopa County taking precautions with Supervisor Bill Gates’ safety after election