U.S. senators urge feds to alert police to threats against election workers -Breaking
© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) addresses a committee business meeting following last week’s confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S.
By Linda So
WASHINGTON, (Reuters) – A group of Democratic U.S. Senators asked federal law enforcement agencies this week to notify local police about rising threats to election officials. According to a memo Reuters received on Thursday.
“The onslaught of threats against election workers is unacceptable and raises serious concerns about state and local governments’ ability to recruit and retain election workers needed to administer future elections,” Democratic Senators Amy Klobuchar and Dick Durbin told the federal agencies on Wednesday in the previously unreported memo.
Klobuchar, Durbin and 20 other Democratic Senators asked the Department of Homeland Security to send a public announcement to state and local police regarding increased threats to election workers.
The senators stated that they have seen in many instances where election officials are threatening to sue, the local authorities treat these threats as an isolated incident rather than as part of larger nationwide trends.
DHS spokeswoman said that the agency has increased collaboration with its government partners through “sharing timely information on threats” FBI confirmed receipt of the memo.
Recent Senate hearings saw election officials testify about an increase in threats after the 2020 election.
After receiving threats from former President Donald Trump supporters, Katie Hobbs (Ariz Secretary of State) was given a security detail. According to Hobbs, election workers receive “abusive phone calls” and “emails almost daily.”
Reuters has documented a wave of terror threats to American democracy’s frontline workers in a series investigative reports. This was inspired by Trump’s false claim that the 2020 elections were stolen. The news organisation documented nearly 900 threats to and harassing messages directed at election officials across 17 states.
After Reuters published the threat against election workers in June last year, the U.S. Department of Justice established a taskforce to examine threats against the election staff. The task force announced only two arrests so far.
In Wednesday’s memo, the senators also asked federal agencies to remind election officials of the federal resources available to them for reporting and mitigating threats. The Federal Election Assistance Commission approved last month an increase in federal funding for election workers, allowing them access to funds for personal security and monitoring social media threats.