Top election officials in Arizona county leave amid threats

PHOENIX (AP) -- The county clerk-elect and director of elections in Yavapai County, Arizona, is resigning after more than a year and a half of threats and severe criticism from supporters of former President Donald Trump, who accept his lie that he lost the 2020 election because of the fraud.
District clerk Leslie Hoffman said Friday that she was fed up with the "wickedness" and took a job outside of the district. Your last day will be July 22nd. She said longtime Elections Supervisor Lynn Constabile will be leaving for the same reason and Friday will be her last day.
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"A lot of that is the nastiness that we dealt with," Hoffman said. "I'm a Republican clerk who lives in a Republican county where the candidate they tried to win won that county 2-1 and is still sad, and so are my staff."
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"I'm not sure what they think we did wrong," she said. “And they are very angry. The accusations and threats are evil.”
Constabile was busy on Friday conducting a required pre-election "logic and accuracy test" 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 loss. A former Georgia poll worker testified before a congressional committee last week how her life was turned upside down when Trump and his allies falsely accused her and her mother of pulling fake ballots out of a suitcase in Georgia.
Ken Matta, who worked in the Arizona Secretary of State's office for nearly 20 years, resigned his job as head of election security on May 6. He said in a lengthy Twitter thread that he decided to leave in large part because he was fed up with the threats and harassment he and other campaign workers have faced.
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Arizona's 15 county clerks are responsible for voter registration and ensuring mail-in ballots are properly mailed to the more than 80% of voters who vote by mail. They make just $63,800 a year, a law-set salary that hasn't increased in the ten years since Hoffman took office.
District Returning Officers are appointed and conduct the actual elections and oversee the counting of the ballots. Constabile has been an election officer for 18 years and is also leaving for another job
Hoffman said the county sheriff's office decided she needed extra protection after the 2020 election over threats and began regular patrols of her home, something that had never been heard before.
Board meetings are packed with critics holding up signs and hissing from behind when Hoffman or Constabile is asked to make a presentation.
"Every 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 set up. It's very sad."
Hoffman is a longtime resident of Yavapai County and said she once reached out to those who "hiss" her from the back of the room.
"And I looked at her and I said, 'You know what, I've been in this county since 1961 — there's nobody in this county that cares more than I do,'" she said. "And that became, 'Shut up, turn around, face the board; you're being condescending.'"
She said she is confident her "wonderful staff" will ensure this year's election goes well and that county supervisors will appoint qualified replacements.
"They will look very carefully for people to appoint," she said.
Early ballots for the August 2 primary will be mailed out next week.
Leslie Hoffman
Stunt performer/stunt coordinator
donald trump
45th President of the United States

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