By Corinne Murdock |
Just a month ahead of the November midterms, Maricopa County announced its new “Elections Command Center” to combat disinformation, and that it would limit press access on county property.
The first line of the press release issued on Tuesday emphasized that county officials across different fields of expertise teamed up together for the greater good when instituting these changes.
“Six elected officials and a team of elections and communications professionals are coming together as one ahead of the 2022 November General Election in Maricopa County,” stated the county.
With this new command center will come tighter restrictions on press access to the county. The county now requires the media to have press passes to enter its facilities and cover election events.
“Because of logistical and security considerations, it is impossible to give the public and media limitless access to Members of the Board of Supervisors, the County Recorder and election experts for events such as press conferences and availabilities,” stated the signup page.
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (BOS) Chairman Bill Gates indicated that the Elections Command Center would serve as an improved information dissemination platform compared to traditional social media and mainstream media outlets.
“The Command Center will further deliver on that promise by creating a structure that allows us to reach more people, faster, with factual information about how elections are run and how people can successfully participate,” said Gates.
Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer added that the county’s decision to establish an additional communications hub wasn’t an indictment of their recent management of the primary election, but rather a commitment to improvement.
“We ran a terrific primary election, but because of our ‘continuous improvement’ work ethic, we will have an incredible communications team assembled that will allow us to better respond to constituent concerns and combat misinformation during the General Election,” said Richer.
The Elections Command Center will be responsible for informing voters about deadlines and election processes, engaging with media, addressing mass-spread rumors and false information, and issuing updates on election results. Additionally, the command center officials will host live-streamed press conferences in the upcoming months.
The county implemented a similar command center in April 2020 to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the “Maricopa County Unified Command Center.”
Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.