This week, members of the Arizona Freedom Caucus attacked Maricopa County election authorities in a scathing press release, extending the state’s post-midterm election disarray.
The Arizona Sun Times reports that AFC members released the statement on Monday. In it, the members accused Maricopa County election authorities of breaching the law in how they conducted the process of operating the voting stations and tallying the results for the midterm elections of 2022, and sought the resignations of many county election officials.
“These officials in Maricopa County have utterly disgraced their office, destroyed all faith in our electoral process, and shown that the only true solution is for them to resign in shame,” the statement read.
Members of the AFC did not mince any punches in their statement, claiming that authorities such as Maricopa Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates “failed” Arizona citizens and asking whether certain individuals were “criminals.”
“After taking an absurd and unnecessary amount of time to count ballots, we are now finding Maricopa County election officials may not merely be incompetent but may also be criminals,” the statement read, quoting State Rep. Jake Hoffman, the AFC chairman.
“The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, including Chairman Gates, and Recorder Richer have utterly, and embarrassingly, failed the people,” the statement added.
In response to alleged criminal activity by Maricopa County election officials, the Arizona Freedom Caucus has released the following statement: pic.twitter.com/x1UnzL9lh2
— Arizona Freedom Caucus (@AZFreedomCaucus) November 21, 2022
“They have not merely failed Maricopa County, they have failed the entire state of Arizona,” the statement continued.
The declaration was made in response to a letter sent by Arizona Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright, in which she detailed what she considers to be many instances of election law infractions in relation to the outcomes of the midterm elections in Maricopa County in 2022.
Wright requested responsibility in the letter, particularly for defective printers that apparently stopped many voters from casting ballots on Election Day or, at the very least, made them feel disenfranchised and uncertain if their votes were tallied.
“Arizonans deserve a full report and accounting of the myriad problems that occurred in relation to Maricopa County’s administration of the 2022 General Election,” Wright wrote in the letter.
Gates had responded to the letter with his own statement, promising to provide the requested information. The response was published by the official Twitter account for Maricopa County.
Statement from Chairman @billgatesaz on the upcoming election canvass & response to the Arizona Attorney General's Office: pic.twitter.com/ryhmealKaC
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) November 21, 2022
In the aftermath of the election, Chairman Gates has faced considerable criticism, both online and in person, for the numerous problems that occurred during and after the election.
According to KSAZ-TV, deputies from the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Sunday that the agency is providing protection for Gates’ new, secret location, where he has supposedly gone for security reasons.
Sheriff Paul Penzone of Maricopa County gave a press conference in which he criticized people who have intimidated election officials or contested the legitimacy of election results.
“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,” Sheriff Penzone said. “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.”