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How election deniers could influence Arizona's 2022 vote

Ken Matta served 20 years under 5 secretaries of state. On 'Sunday Square Off,' he looks back at GOP ballot recount and looks ahead to fears about 2022.

PHOENIX — He protected Arizona's elections for 20 years. 

Now Ken Matta is moving on and says he can't wait for the day when he doesn't need to carry a gun to protect himself.

On this weekend's "Sunday Square Off," Matta, former lead elections security officer for Arizona's Secretary of State, takes us inside Arizona Senate Republicans' 2020 ballot recount and looks ahead to the potential impact of election deniers on the 2022 vote.

"There's a lot of attrition in our industry right now and we, as Americans, will end up paying the price for that," Matta said.

RELATED: Lake, Finchem want to bar Arizona's vote tabulating machines

"The loss of talent and the seeping in of election deniers and conspiracy theorists into the process, people with only political agendas, instead of people that are pursuing democracy, I see that to be a big problem that we face."

Matta also explains why elections workers around the state are being trained on how to de-escalate a tense situation and respond to an active shooter, and why he felt the need to carry a gun during the ballot recount.

Over the course of almost 20 years in the secretary of state's office, Matta served under four Republican secretaries and one Democrat, the current officeholder, Katie Hobbs.

Also on "Square Off," our Republican panel of Kathy Petsas, former GOP chair of the most competitive legislative district in the state, and Paul Bentz, senior vice president for research at Phoenix-based HighGround Consulting, discuss this year's competitive GOP primaries:

  • Whether outgoing Gov. Doug Ducey will endorse a candidate in the open Republican primary for governor. Early voting starts in just 52 days, on July 6.
  • How great an impact independent voters might have on the GOP primary. Data from the Maricopa County Recorder's Office shows independent voters requesting far more Republican primary ballots than Democratic ballots. (Registered independents have to request a mail-in ballot in order to vote in a party primary. You can request one here.)
  • Whether Republican election deniers running for statewide officer can win in November's general election.

"Sunday Square Off" airs at 8 a.m. Sundays on 12News, after NBC's "Meet the Press," with Chuck Todd.

RELATED: Brnovich: 'Serious vulnerabilities' occurred during 2020 election

Sunday Square Off

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