Top Election Officials in Arizona County Leave Amid Threats

PHOENIX (AP) — The elected county recorder and director of elections in Yavapai County, Arizona, are resigning after more than a year and a half of threats and heated criticism from supporters of former President Donald Trump who accept his lie that he lost. the 2020 election because of fraud

County Recorder Leslie Hoffman said Friday that she is fed up with the “badness” and has taken a job outside the county. Her last day will be July 25. She said elections director Lynn Constabile is leaving for the same reason, and Friday is her last day.

“A lot of this is the evil that we’ve dealt with,” Hoffman said. “I am a Republican registrar living in a Republican county where the candidate they wanted to win won 2-1 in this county and it still hurts me and so does my staff.”

“I’m not sure what they think we did wrong,” she said. And they are very unpleasant. Accusations and threats are unpleasant.”

Constabile was busy Friday doing a pre-election “logic and accuracy test” required for the upcoming primary and was unavailable for comment.

Hoffman and Constabile’s experiences are not unique, as electoral professionals across the country have been threatened and harassed since Trump’s defeat. A former Georgia poll worker testified before a congressional committee last week about how her life changed when Trump and her allies falsely accused her and her mother of pulling fraudulent ballots out of a suitcase in Georgia.

Ken Matta, who worked in the Arizona Secretary of State’s office for nearly 20 years, resigned from his job as chief of election security on May 6. he said in long twitter thread that he decided to leave largely because he was tired of the threats and harassment he and other poll workers were subjected to.

Registrars in 15 Arizona counties are responsible for voter registration and ensuring that mail-in ballots are properly mailed to more than 80% of voters who vote by mail. They earn just $63,800 a year, a salary set by the Legislature that hasn’t increased in the decade Hoffman has been in office.

County election directors are appointed and run the actual elections and oversee the counting of votes. Constabile has been the electoral director for 18 years and is also leaving for another job.

Hoffman said the county sheriff’s office decided he needed additional protection after the 2020 election because of the threats and began regular patrols of his home, something never seen before.

Board of Supervisors meetings are filled with critics holding up signs and whistling from behind when Hoffman or Constabile are ready to make a presentation.

“Any time we have something on the agenda, people come in and protest,” Hoffman said. “They don’t like the providers we use, they don’t like the programs they want to put in place. It is very sad.”

Hoffman is a longtime resident of Yavapai County and said she once turned toward those who were “whistling” at her from the back of the room.

“And I looked at them and said, ‘You know what? I have been in this county since 1961; there’s no one in this county who cares about it more than I do,’” she said. “And that was met with ‘Shut up, turn around, look at the board; you’re being condescending.’”

He said he is confident his “wonderful staff” will make sure this year’s election goes well and that qualified replacements are appointed by county supervisors.

“They are going to be very diligent in investigating anyone they consider appointing,” he said.

Early ballots for the August 2 primary will be mailed out next week.


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