Opinion: Election deniers take crazy to a new level

We begin with the good news about the process of certifying Arizona’s November 2022 election.

After all the conspiracy theories, death threats, and fact-deprived screaming about rigged results, only a few hundred protesters showed up for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors’ Nov.

28 special meeting to certify the county’s results.

In a state of more than seven million people – and in a county where 1,562,758 of us voted on Nov. 8 – a few hundred “nayscreamers” amounts to a raindrop in a river.

The bad news? The people who did show up to scream at the five supervisors were bull goose loony.

Like election denier and podcaster Joe Oltman, who traveled from Castle Pines, Colorado, to lament the Board’s lack of transparency – in a public meeting broadcast around the world online – and to

accuse them of “gaslight(ing) the American people.”

That was tame compared to speakers who threw around terms like “evil,” “traitors,” “crooked,” “clowns” and “violent revolution.”

Heck, one lady from Wickenburg, Lydia Abril, used her two minutes to share “what God has to say to all elected officials,” courtesy of the Book of Psalms. She thundered about “high and mighty politicians” and “giving justice in exchange for bribes,” before asking God to “break off their fangs” and “let them be as snails that dissolve into slime.”

That got quite the round of applause from her fellow zealots.

Later came my personal favorite speaker, failed Board of Supervisors candidate Gail Golec, a Trump-endorsed Scottsdale Republican, who got pasted in the primary by Supervisor Tom Galvin. Golec demanded a halt to the certification “until we can get some more audits.”

Golec really hit it out of the park with her finger-wagging tirade: “These machines have come into play and have taken over countries. South America right now is almost gone because of selections! Thank God for Brazil or we would lose a continent – a whole continent – to these machines!”

Lady, for heaven’s sake, please burn your collection of Terminator DVDs, pronto.

After four hours of this nonsense, the supervisors – four Republicans and a Democrat – voted to certify the county’s election results, as required by law. Fourteen out of Arizona’s 15 counties have done the same, with only tiny Cochise County, population 126,000, as the lone holdout.

So Election 2022 continues to sputter to its conclusion, despite some national and local press coverage portraying Arizona and the Valley as something of a laughingstock, populated by nuts and dolts and those who see a conspiracy around every corner and every time a computer printer runs out of toner.

My assessment, which I previewed for you in a column several weeks ago, is this: The 2022 election was imperfect, in part because all elections are. But there were no hijinks afoot.

If it took two weeks to count the ballots, that’s because (a) it always takes long, and (b) a record number of voters listened to MAGA leaders who told them to hold onto their early ballots until Election Day, thus creating the very issue – slow counting – that they later lambasted.

Given the relatively few people who showed up to protest the supervisors – a far smaller crowd than your average JV football game – I’d suggest that 99 percent of us have moved on to bigger issues and real problems.

You remember those, I’m guessing.

Inflation. Rising crime. Our troubled public school system. The lack of housing supply in our state. The fentanyl epidemic. Our porous border.

These were the issues would-be elected leaders used to campaign on, before they turned to false tales of stolen elections and machine takeovers.

I miss the old days, when the other 1 percent – not the crazy 1 percent – got all the attention.