#Man arrested for making ‘violent threat’ to Arizona election official in 2022

A man was arrested in San Diego Thursday for allegedly leaving a voicemail on the personal cell phone of an Arizona election official in 2022.

William Hyde left a violent threat on the voicemail of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office employee’s phone “on or about November 29, 2022,” the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

Hyde, 52, is set to make his initial appearance Friday at a federal courthouse in San Diego.

According to the newly unsealed indictment, Hyde allegedly left two voicemails a day after the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, and the employee, met that November to certify the 2022 election results in the largest county in Arizona.

In the voicemail, Hyde allegedly said “You wanna cheat our elections? You wanna screw Americans out of true votes? We’re coming, [expletive]. You’d better [expletive] hide.”

“Intimidation of election officials strikes at the very heart of our democracy,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California Tara McGrath said in a statement. “Even just one case can have a ripple effect. This Office will aggressively prosecute any attempt to intimidate, threaten, or frighten election officials as they engage in these critical duties.”

Arizona – one of a few states that helped decide the 2020 presidential election – has been at the center of political controversy after election results have been contested in recent cycles and election workers have faced threats and intimidation.

State officials certified Arizona’s 2022 election results in early December 2022. The once low-profile act has now become a high-stakes and high-pressure certification process, as Maricopa County is a hot spot for allegations of voter disenfranchisement.

Hyde, a resident of California, has been charged with one count of communicating an interstate threat. If he is convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the DOJ said.

The FBI San Diego Field Office investigated the case with help from the FBI’s Phoenix Field Office. The case is part of the DOJ’s Election Threats Task Force, launched in 2021, to address a rising number of threats of violence against election workers.

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