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Maricopa County Recorder shouted down by residents after ‘conspiracy theories’ remark

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Yudi Sherman

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November 28, 2022

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11:32 AM

Maricopa County Recorder shouted down by residents after ‘conspiracy theories’ remark

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting Monday erupted into shouting after County Recorder Stephen Richer declared any questions about the county’s election integrity as “conspiracy theories”. 

Maricopa County, Arizona’s largest, came under scrutiny this month for several glaring question marks surrounding its handling of the midterm elections. 

To begin with, half the county’s tabulation machines or printers in Arizona’s Maricopa County voting centers malfunctioned, predominantly in Republican areas. Republican gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake reported she was forced to vote in a liberal area so she would be assured of a functioning tabulation machine. 

Second, the election was presided over by Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who was also declared the winner of said election. Hobbs refused to recuse herself throughout the election despite allegations of conflict of interest and will certify her own victory. 

Third, Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and Supervisor Chairman Bill Gates, who told voters to expect delays in counting votes, created a political action committee one year ago called the Pro Democracy Republicans of Arizona dedicated to keeping Trump-supporting Republican candidates out of office. For election officials to meddle in elections to such an extent is considered a “rarity” even for the Left.   

Fourth, the votes took over a week to count, which Gates and Richer assured residents was “normal.” 

At Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting, where the agenda was to decide to certify the election results, Richer spoke in favor of certifying the election and slamming questions about the election as “conspiracy theories.” 

“These conversations need to focus on real issues. We can spend the next two years, as we’ve spent the last two, fighting over conspiracy theories promoted on social media by people who know nothing about –” 

Richer was drowned out by boos from attendees until Gates had to step in. 

“Again, I’ve asked you before, please do not boo, do not cheer. Let’s let Recorder Richer speak,” Richer admonished. 

The crowd erupted into shouts, some slamming Richer for “labeling everybody here” as “conspiracy theorists.” One demanded that Richer “shut up.” 

“Again, again, we need to stop, please. Everyone has the opportunity to say what they want to. We’re not going to stop folks who have your two minutes, as long as we don’t get into profanity, which I do not anticipate. Let’s please be respectful. The world is watching. Let’s show –” 

“Yeah, they are!” the crowd interrupted for a third time with discombobulated shouting. 

“Again, we’re getting very close – I'm getting very close to calling a recess here. And I don’t want to do that,” Gates said to continued grumbles from the audience. “Please - please stop, we want to give everyone the opportunity to speak. Recorder Richer.” 

After Richer finished, several residents had a chance to speak for their two-minute public comments, which included accusations of corruption against Gates and Richer. Many expressed strong opposition to the results being certified due to rampant voting machine malfunctions and conflicts of interest, which they said included both Secretary of State Hobbs’ election oversight and the PAC run by Gates and Richer.

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