Not MAGA enough: 2020 election skeptic quit his job after facing blowback from angry election deniers

CNN — When Bob Bartelsmeyer accepted the job as the elections director of a sprawling rural county in Arizona last spring , it seemed like the perfect move. It was a step up professionally in a place where the Trumpian values of the community matched his own. After all, Bartelsmeyer, 67, believed the falsehood subscribed to by millions of MAGA Republicans that the 2020 election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump. But instead of getting a warm reception, Bartelsmeyer got a wakeup call: Not even he – whose social media posts promoted Trump’s claims of election fraud, was equipped to handle the extreme level of distrust in elections felt by residents in this county, which had become an unsettling case study in how democracy in an American county can break down. Bartelsmeyer’s tenure in Cochise County, Arizona, lasted all of five months, and overlapped with a string of events that preceded his arrival and has kept swirling after his September departure . This has included the harassment of election officials by local election deniers and conspiracists, the refusal of an elected board to certify the 2022 midterm election, the criminal indictment of two GOP board members for their recalcitrance and the near disenfranchisement of tens of thousands of voters. In his first national interview about the mess, Bartelsmeyer told CNN he fears the weakened democracy in this rugged county on the Mexican border is an indicator of where much of America is headed on elections. “I have worries about the nation,” he said. “2024 is going to be very brutal. Going to be very hostile.” In the aftermath of the 2020 election, Bartelsmeyer – who was not working as an election official at the time – posted memes and commentary on social media about how Trump was the true […]

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By Donato