Cochise County Supervisor Peggy Judd faced a flood of threatening calls and emails over her handling of this most recent election. Several of the threatening messages listed Judd’s grandchildren and her home address.
The profanity-laced messages also included wishes for Judd to go to prison or even die. Judd referred two of the calls to the Cochise County Sheriff’s Office, but has yet to receive any updates on investigative efforts.
“The world will be a better place when stupid gullible scumbags like you no longer walk the earth,” read one email, as first reported by Arizona Daily Independent.
“Hey you f*****g whore. Just because your candidate loses doesn’t mean it’s f*****g fixed you stupid God-damned f*****g retarded c**t,” said one voicemail. “F**k you. You’re going to f*****g prison you stupid b***h.”
Judd remained silent for months about the threats she received, unlike former Cochise County Elections Director Lisa Marra, who testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee about alleged threats she received which, it was later revealed, there is no record of, according to the Cochise County Attorney’s Office.
Marra quit her role as elections director in January. Marra was given a position last month by Secretary of State Adrian Fontes.
There’s been a disparity in treatment between alleged threats to those who support election results and those who don’t. Nothing ever came of the 2020 death threat to Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ-09). Similar non-action occurred more recently concerning threats to former senate president Karen Fann and former state representative Michelle Ugenti-Rita.
AZ Free News reached out to several individuals who identified themselves in threatening emails to Judd. One such person was C.R., who wrote a series of emails spanning several weeks from the end of last November through early December.
“I hope your county has the money to lose in court. F*****g redneck morons. They are going to destroy you and embarrass you. And the DOJ will prosecute as soon as you break the laws,” wrote C.R. in one email. “You aren’t smart people and this won’t end up well for you.”
In a clarifying statement on his emails, C.R. told AZ Free News that he didn’t threaten anyone but used bad language because he was upset with government officials for “attempting to break the law because their preferred candidate lost.” C.R. held that Judd should face prosecution.
“Was I out of line in my emails? Maybe. Did she deserve to be told by the people what they were trying to [do] was wrong? Yes. She is a public servant,” said C.R. “Peggy was in the wrong and so I was for my language.”
A bill meant to add transparency to Arizona’s elections is approaching its final hurdle in the Legislature.
HB 2722, sponsored by Representative Gail Griffin, “authorizes the officer in charge of elections, the county recorder or any person who is designated by the county board of supervisors to count all or any portion of the ballots in an election by hand” – according to the purpose provided by the Arizona Senate.
In a statement to the House Municipal Oversight & Elections Committee, Representative Griffin explained the purpose of her legislation: “It’s a simple bill. It allows the counties to do a hand count. We believe that they already have the authority to do it, but this clarifies it.”
Last month, Griffin’s bill cleared the Arizona House by a party-line 31-28 vote – with one member (Representative Shah) not voting. Before the action from the full chamber, HB 2722 passed the House Municipal Oversight and Elections Committee with a 6-4 tally; all Republicans voting in favor of the legislation and all Democrats in opposition).
After the House transmitted this bill to the Senate, it was assigned to the Elections Committee, chaired by Senator Wendy Rogers. Rogers recently brought HB 2722 up for consideration, and it passed out of her committee with another party-line vote of 5-3.
During the committee hearing, Representative Griffin stopped by to testify for her bill. She told the members of the committee that she had worked with the Cochise County Recorder David Stevens on the bill’s language.
Democrat Senator Anna Hernandez had some harsh words for the bill sponsor before voting against the bill in the Senate committee: “I’m not inclined to support any legislation that is being pushed by someone who runs an institute that posts conspiracy theories…around elections.” Another fellow Democrat on the committee, Senator Mendez, added, “Advocates, policy advisors – everyone has noted to us that hand counts only produce inaccurate results, confused voters, and consume extensive time, money, and labor…We should not be inviting all of this chaos and pretending as if this is going to solve our problems.”
Senator Rogers had the final word on the bill before it officially passed her committee, saying, “Whatever it takes to get accurate, reliable results – because 250 years of blood and treasure have been spilled for our sacred vote.” She also read a 2019 quote from then-U.S. Senator Kamala Harris, which stated: “This shouldn’t be a controversial statement: The United States must embrace hand-marked paper ballots.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.