Threatened Arizona election official had to carry a gun to work

Ken Matta/video screengrab

Opinion: Each dedicated election security professional who leaves government service, like Ken Matta, is another Jenga block pulled from our teetering tower of democracy.

By EJ Montini | Arizona Republic

Before leaving his job as elections security director for the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office, where he’d worked for 20 years under five administrations, Republican and Democrat, Ken Matta left a long Twitter thread explaining what it’s been like to work in an atmosphere where Republicans are spreading the Big Lie about election fraud.

One part that struck me was how, during the long days of the Cyber Ninjas’ sham audit, which he observed, Matta felt the need to carry a firearm.

He called himself “the most hated person in the room,” and added, “I was a guy in a pink shirt who watched people who had no idea how elections work try to audit an election.

“I started carrying a gun when I had to start driving through a gauntlet of assault rifles carried by misinformed protesters to get into the Coliseum every day, and when our office started receiving horrible threats. I can’t wait for the day I don’t feel I need that anymore.”

How many jobs need guns at work?

Imagine that.

Is that what the GOP wants now? To put public servants like election workers – people dedicated to assuring us an honest, unbiased vote count – in a position where they must be armed at work, a situation in which the GOP would like to put teachers?

Matta said it was an “honor” to work with “County Recorders, Election Directors, IT and information security leads, communication leads, intelligence and law enforcement agencies to secure elections. This community works hard to protect you, and I would trust my vote with any of them.”

While on the job after the presidential election he had to sift through threatening messages from people all riled up by “misinformation.”

Would you hire a butcher to work on your car?

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