DOJ Cracking Down on Threats to Poll Workers

The Justice Department is making efforts to ensure that election workers feel safe during the Nov. 8 midterm elections amid unprecedented threats to their safety.

“Threats to election workers not only threaten the safety of the individuals concerned, but also jeopardize the stability of the US electoral process,” the FBI said in a news release on Oct. 12.

The DOJ has received growing reports from election workers of threatening voicemails, online messages, and in-person encounters since former President Donald Trump began making public statements that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” from him, CNBC reports.

“These threats against election officials continue,” Michael McDonald, professor of political science at the University of Florida, told CNBC. “It’s straining and stressing election officials. And in some cases, they are opting to retire from running elections.”

Claims of intimidation began immediately after the election when Trump and his legal team began making claims of election fraud. Most were in key swing states such as Georgia and Arizona where the election was close.

The Georgia Secretary of State’s chief operating officer Gabriel Sterling, a Republican, testified before the Jan. 6 committee in June that one state election worker received a threat to be “hung for treason” for transferring an election report to a county computer.

Former Georgia election worker Wandrea ArShaye “Shaye” Moss, a Democrat, told the committee that she and her mother had been subjected to racist threats after false accusations of election tampering.

“It’s affected my life in a major way. In every way. All because of lies,” Moss said. “From me doing my job, the same thing I’ve been doing forever.”

The threats continue, according to elected officials and poll workers, who say they continued getting threats right up to the present.

Just this month, a 64-year-old man was arrested for threatening election officials in Maricopa County, Arizona, CNBC reported. Maricopa was a major focus of the 2020 state recount that Trump lost by 10,000 votes.

“When we come to lynch your stupid lying commie [expletive], you’ll remember that you lied on the [expletive] Bible, you piece of [expletive]. You’re gonna die, you piece of [expletive]. We’re going to hang you. We’re going to hang you,” the man allegedly told Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich in a Sept. 27, 2021 voicemail, the DOJ reports.

The DOJ is offering more funds this year for election security, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr., said in a briefing to election officials and workers this month.

More federal grant money has been allocated for poll safety and money from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is available to be used to protect election workers, Polite told the group.


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