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DOJ vows to protect election workers facing threats in the wake of Trump's fraud lies

The Department of Justice said it will ‘vigorously prosecute’ the growing number of Americans who are making violent threats against civil servants.

By Emily Singer - July 30, 2021
Attorney General Merrick Garland and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco

The Department of Justice on Thursday announced it is stepping up its efforts to stop the growing number of threats election workers have received since the 2020 election, following the spread of President Donald Trump’s lies of voter fraud and a stolen election.

Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco said in a news release announcing a task force to combat the threats:

To protect the electoral process for all voters, we must identify threats against those responsible for administering elections, whether federal, state, or local. A threat to any election official, worker, or volunteer is a threat to democracy. We will promptly and vigorously prosecute offenders to protect the rights of American voters, to punish those who engage in this criminal behavior, and to send the unmistakable message that such conduct will not be tolerated.

A survey published by the Brennan Center for Justice in June found that “one in three election officials feel unsafe because of their job, and nearly one in five listed threats to their lives as a job-related concern.”

Some high-profile election officials have even required extra security due to the threats they’ve faced in the wake of Trump’s loss.

In May, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered security for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs after Hobbs received threats following her vocal criticism of the scandal-plagued election audit in Maricopa County initiated by GOP members of the state Senate.

In Pennsylvania, Republican City Commissioner Al Schmidt received numerous death threats after Trump criticized Schmidt’s handling of the 2020 election. One threatening text Schmidt received read, “You lied. You a traitor. Perhaps 75cuts and 20bullets will soon arrive.”

And Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who drew Trump’s ire after he refused to “find” the exact number of ballots to declare Trump the winner of Georgia, also received numerous threats, both to him and his family.

“You and your family will be killed very slowly,” read one threatening text to Raffensperger’s wife, Tricia, according to a report from Reuters.

In its June report, the Brennan Center proposed that the Justice Department create a task force like the one announced on Thursday.

The department said in a news release that the task force “will receive and assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers and will partner with and support U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and FBI field offices throughout the country to investigate and prosecute these offenses where appropriate.”

Deputy FBI Director Paul Abbate said that his agency “will not tolerate” the threats.

“From election administrators to volunteers to vendors and contractors, threats against any one individual is a threat against us all,” Abbate said in the release. “The FBI’s mission is to protect the American people and uphold our Constitution, and protecting our democratic process is paramount. We take this responsibility seriously and will investigate any and all federal violations to the fullest.”

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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