Attacks on democratic institutions and election officials are the biggest threat facing our country today, according to Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates.
“When people attempt to undermine a democratic election, it puts at risk everything we take for granted in a free country,” said Chairman Bill Gates, Supervisor District 3. “Security, speech, and economic progress. That’s why Maricopa County has not been silent, and that’s why we will not be silent in the face of lies.”
Gates was one of several panelists who participated in the McCain Institute’s second “Defending American Democracy” panel. Gates has made running secure elections and defending democracy a pillar of his Chairmanship. He provided his perspective today alongside Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson; Pasco County, Florida Elections Supervisor Brian Corley; and Executive Director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, David Becker.
“We're proud to have one of the most robust voting systems in country, where you can vote by mail, you can vote early, and you can vote at the polls,” said Gates. “The Arizona GOP wants to change early voting. Attempts to put that genie back in the bottle undermine our voting system and are bad politics.”
The conversation focused largely on what can be done about the misinformation that has led some Americans to believe elections are rigged and massive fraud is affecting outcomes. This is not the case and no credible evidence supports those conclusions. False claims about the 2020 election led to unprecedented threats on election officials and workers, including Gates, his fellow board members, and Maricopa County elections staff.
"I am called a traitor on a daily basis for doing my job,” Gates added. “Many people have said we're opposed to audits, but that is simply not true. We're opposed to extra-legal audits that follow no statutes or plan on how they would occur. That is what was done by the Arizona Senate, and it should never happen again.”
Maricopa County has consistently refuted falsehoods and shared facts about election administration in the nation’s fastest-growing county. A website, JustTheFacts.vote, compiles much of this information.
You can watch the entire “Defending American Democracy” event here.