Cochise County is near hiring an elections director who has repeatedly shared false claims about widespread election fraud on Fb, together with claims that the 2020 presidential election was rigged towards former President Donald Trump.
Bob Bartelsmeyer, at the moment the elections director in La Paz County, was chosen by Cochise County Recorder David Stevens for the spot. The county supervisors are set to nominate him at their Tuesday assembly, in accordance with a gathering agenda posted on the county web site.
“Please be part of me by posting ‘Trump legally received by landslide’” one publish shared by Bartelsmeyer in December 2020 mentioned. “REVEALED: ‘Easy Math’ Exhibits Biden Claims 13 MILLION Extra Votes Than There Had been Eligible Voters Who Voted in 2020,” learn one other.
In Cochise, Bartelsmeyer could be working for a southern Arizona county the place the Republican-controlled Board of Supervisors is contemplating GOP-backed modifications to the county’s elections. Proposals embrace pursuing a possible plan to do away with the county’s vote-counting machines due to false claims of vote switching which are much like these shared by Bartelsmeyer in 2020.
Supervisor Ann English, the lone Democrat on the board, informed Votebeat she was involved that hiring Bartelsmeyer would imply nobody would stand within the supervisors’ or Stevens’ approach in the event that they tried to maneuver ahead with regarding modifications to elections.
“It definitely is horrifying for me to consider somebody coming in to take over an elections system that hasn’t had any issues, with an angle that elections previously haven’t been truthful,” English mentioned.
In hiring Bartelsmeyer, the county would even be selecting somebody with many years of expertise administering elections. Previous to his hiring in La Paz — a rural county in western Arizona — a 12 months in the past, Bartelsmeyer mentioned he ran or labored in elections in Mohave County and counties in Missouri, Florida, and New Mexico.
Earlier this 12 months the Cochise supervisors gave Stevens, the Republican recorder who additionally has doubts in regards to the safety of elections, extra management of them, together with oversight of the elections director place. That was after they illegally tried to dam the certification of Cochise County’s November election and tried to maneuver ahead with a plan to illegally hand-count all ballots,
The place is open after longtime elections director Lisa Marra resigned in January, claiming she was maligned and harassed after refusing to maneuver ahead with the unlawful hand-count plan. The supervisors had deliberate to maneuver management of elections to Stevens even earlier than Marra left.
Requested on Monday if he supported the supervisors’ makes an attempt to illegally hand-count all ballots and never certify the election, Bartelsmeyer indicated he didn’t.
“I consider that you need to comply with state statutes and the elections process guide with regard to elections,” he wrote in an e-mail.
Requested how his assist for false claims about election fraud within the 2020 election would have an effect on how he runs elections, Bartelsmeyer wrote that in 2020, he was a “personal citizen and was at liberty to precise my beliefs from sources throughout the marketing campaign at the moment particularly with mail in ballots.”
However, he went on to say, that was not true. “As an Elections Director, an individual can’t categorical their private opinions with any marketing campaign as one should be impartial and bipartisan,” he wrote. “My mission is to offer excellent voter companies with integrity, transparency and accuracy in Cochise County.”
Nonetheless, he has shared his opinion publicly throughout his tenure in La Paz. On Oct. 27, just a few weeks earlier than the Nov. 8 election, Bartelsmeyer shared a Breitbart publish saying that GOP gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake was polling forward of her Democratic opponent, including, ‘You go lady!!’ with a thumbs-up emoji.
From 2016 to 2021, he posted quite a few posts in assist of Trump, although it’s unclear from publicly accessible data what place he held at the moment if any. He didn’t reply to a follow-up query asking if he nonetheless helps Trump, who’s operating for president once more in 2024.
English mentioned Tuesday afternoon that she hadn’t been given any details about Bartelsmeyer’s background prematurely of the Tuesday assembly. Republican Supervisor Peggy Judd mentioned that she had obtained all the data she thought was pertinent to know earlier than the vote, and he or she deliberate to assist his hiring.
She mentioned that his place on the 2020 election was “legitimate” and he or she believes he can nonetheless be neutral in his position regardless of his views. She identified that Marra publicly shared political views and mentioned she didn’t consider this to be any totally different.
“I feel he’s going to be wonderful,” she mentioned.
Stevens has informed Votebeat that he doesn’t consider poll tabulation machines are safe and he believes the county ought to have a dialog about whether or not hand-counting ballots could be finest. He didn’t reply to questions Monday about his advice to rent Bartelsmeyer.
The unique posting for the elections director job requested candidates to determine their political affiliation, in accordance with a narrative within the Sierra Vista Herald. County officers mentioned on the time that they’d misunderstood state legislation and thought this was required, and mentioned they’d take away the query.
For his half, Bartelsmeyer informed Votebeat he believes tabulation machines “are 99.9% correct.” He mentioned counties ought to comply with state legislation on hand-counting a share of ballots after the election.
However in his 2020 posts, Bartelsmeyer unfold false claims about Dominion Voting Methods, a producer of election tools, and different false claims from former Trump lawyer Sidney Powell about widespread voter fraud in six swing states. One quote he shared falsely mentioned that cases of fraudulent voting that occurred in 2020 have been “treasonous.”
Lots of his posts have been marked by Fb as misinformation, with a disclaimer added to some posts reminding readers that “election officers have strict guidelines in terms of poll counting, dealing with and reporting.”
“We should demand election integrity and transparency within the 2020 election for America to outlive as a democracy and for the America we all know and love!!,” Bartelsmeyer wrote in a Dec. 6, 2020 publish.
Most of Bartelsmeyer’s expertise was from his 23 years as county clerk in Lawrence County, Missouri, in accordance with a narrative within the Parker Pioneer, a La Paz County information outlet. In 2010, he abruptly left a spot as elections supervisor in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, after holding the place for lower than a 12 months, in accordance with a narrative within the native newspaper.
When employed in La Paz, a rural county in western Arizona with about 11,000 registered voters, Bartelsmeyer informed the Parker Pioneer that the county already had methods to make sure that its elections have been clear and safe and “has accomplished a wonderful job of conducting elections.”
He would have a a lot bigger inhabitants to serve in Cochise County, which had about 77,000 registered voters as of November. He informed Votebeat that he desires the job as a result of he’s “on the lookout for a brand new problem with a severe effort to be a group participant within the face of challenges with a bigger jurisdiction.”
“I wish to make a distinction and make a major contribution to the Cochise County Elections Division,” he wrote.
Secretary of State Adrian Fontes, a Democrat who has prominently supported the way in which elections are run in Arizona, declined to touch upon Bartelsmeyer’s previous Fb posts. Fontes’ workplace offers assist to elections administrators as they run their counties’ elections.
A minimum of six of Arizona’s 15 counties have seen election administrators go away not too long ago, and Fontes has attributed the excessive turnover on to the assaults and harassment the administrators have confronted due to election misinformation, akin to the type unfold by Bartelsmeyer.
When Marra resigned, Fontes went on nationwide tv and spoke about her resignation and others, calling them an emergency due to the lack of expertise.
“We have to finish this nonsense,” Fontes mentioned on the time. “However we have to do it with vigor and with power as a result of I feel that’s the solely language that these terrorists are going to concentrate to.”
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