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DOJ: San Diego man arrested for threatening Arizona election official

Department of Justice
Posted at 3:56 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 19:05:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A San Diego man has been indicted for allegedly threatening an Arizona election official over certifying the results of the 2022 races, according to a press release from the Department of Justice.

The release says William Hyde, 52, will make his first court appearance Friday at the federal courthouse in San Diego. He faces one count of communicating an interstate threat, which carries a maximum prison sentence of five years.

Nicole Argentieri of the DOJ's Criminal Divison says prosecutors believe Hyde left threatening voicemails on a Maricopa County election official's personal cell phone the day after results for the 2022 midterm elections were certified.

"The indictment alleges that the defendant accused the official of cheating the election and told the official to ‘run’ and ‘hide,’” says Argentieri. “The Criminal Division is committed to aggressively investigating and prosecuting individuals who threaten election officials. We will not tolerate criminal intimidation of those who administer and safeguard our elections.”

The indictment unsealed Thursday says on Nov. 28, 2022, the election official attended a Maricopa County Board of Supervisors meeting in which the supervisors certified the 2022 general election results for the county. According to the indictment, Hyde left back-to-back voicemails on the election official's personal cell phone.

The first said "Run, [expletive]," while the second said "You wanna cheat our elections? You wanna screw Americans out of true votes? We're coming, [expletive]. You'd better [expletive] hide," the indictment states.

Tara McGrath, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California, says the intimidation of election officials is a threat against democracy.

“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," McGrath says.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Gary Restaino says step one of maintaining election integrity begins with protecting the people who run elections.

“We appreciate the admirable efforts of the Recorder’s Office and Elections Department in Maricopa County to efficiently register Arizonans as eligible voters, and to accurately and transparently tabulate their votes," Restaino says.

The FBI Field Office in San Diego is investigating Hyde's case, and the Field Office in Phoenix is playing a major role in the investigation as well.

The DOJ says this case is part of its Election Threats Task Force, which was established in June 2021 to ensure election workers can do their jobs without fear of threats and intimidation.

To report suspected threats or violent acts, you can contact your local FBI office. You can also report your tip online here.