Friday, 22 Sep 2023

Get cancer: how election lies morphed into a plague of hate in Arizona

Get cancer: how election lies morphed into a plague of hate in Arizona


Get cancer: how election lies morphed into a plague of hate in Arizona

On a typical day during the 2022 elections in Arizona, threatening emails and social media posts flowed into Maricopa county's inboxes.

Emailers, social media posters and callers were mad about everything from printer problems on election day to vote counting to court rulings, documents obtained by the Guardian show.

"Election stealing piece of shit - get cancer," one person wrote to a county elections official.

"You cheating sons of bitches every last one of you should swing for treason," a Twitter account wrote to the county.

"You deserve to be executed in front of America by Firing Squad," another wrote to the county supervisors.

Nearly all of the perpetrators of these threats believed that the election was stolen from the candidate they wanted to win. In 2022, the threats regularly mentioned the election being stolen from the Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who, despite her loss, has not conceded the race and is still fighting it in court.

These kinds of harassing and threatening messages have become the new normal for elections officials, especially those in swing states such as Arizona. Since Maricopa county became a frequent target in 2020 after Trump lost both it and the state, the county has worked to catalogue and respond to threats to protect its employees and try to hold the people making these threats accountable, creating one of the most robust threat monitoring and response systems in the nation. County officials hope the system will help them in 2024, when they anticipate a rise in threats.

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