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Arizona county elections director resigns, citing politicization and 'intimidation'

Geraldine Roll, the Pinal County elections director, wrote that “you idly stood by when I was attacked" in an email to the county’s manager.
Voters arrive at a polling location on Nov. 3, 2020 in Eloy, Pinal County, Ariz.
Voters arrive at a polling location on Nov. 3, 2020, in Eloy, Ariz.Courtney Pedroza / Getty Images file

An Arizona county elections director quit Tuesday, accusing the local elections department of caving to "a faction of the Republican party" and failing to protect her from "intimidation."

"I have watched as you idly stood by when I was attacked," Geraldine Roll, the Pinal County elections director, wrote in an email to the county's manager, Leo Lew.

Roll added that she has been “subject to ridicule, disrespect, intimidation” and “cannot work for an individual that does not support me.”

In an interview with Pinal Central, which first reported the email, Roll emphasized the fraught nature of her departure. She said she had "quit," rather than "resigned," adding: "I think there's a big difference."

In her email, Roll also alleged that the elections department had become politicized, arguing that the office has departed from "impartiality" and "common sense" in favor of "extremist" rhetoric catered toward "a faction of the Republican party."

"Clearly, politics are the value this administration desires in a place where politics have no place: election administration," Roll wrote. "With no regrets, I quit."

A Pinal County spokesperson has confirmed the email’s contents to NBC News.

In a statement, Lew thanked Roll for her "service during very challenging times."

"Although I disagree with her assessment, she has been an impactful public servant, and I wish her the best and know that she will continue to do great things in her career," Lew said.

The election director's resignation is the latest in a string of headwinds to hit the Pinal County Election Department. Last year, the department mailed roughly 63,000 defunct ballots to voters about a month before the primary election, when some polling places were faced with a ballot shortage.

Since the 2020 election, the Department of Justice has received a growing number of reports of threats to election workers.

In April, a survey from the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law predicted a huge turnover in local election officials before the 2024 election.

According to the poll conducted online from March 2 to April 3, 30% of the local officials surveyed said they’d been personally harassed, abused or threatened, while 22% said they personally knew of election officials who had left their jobs “at least in part because of fear for their safety, increased threats, or intimidation.”

A whopping 73% of respondents said they felt threats against election workers had increased in recent years.