The GOP spent much of the past year chipping away at the authority of state and local election officials as part of the party’s ongoing efforts to destroy faith in US democracy, following the failed re-election of Donald Trump.
With Trump and his supporters continuing to lie about the 2020 presidential election and criticize election officials who refused to go along with attempts to overthrow the results, it shouldn’t be terribly surprising that, according to a report published by Reuters on Thursday, these local officials have been subject to a steady stream of abuse and threats since the 2020 presidential election.
The report contains more than 850 threatening and hostile messages spanning 30 jurisdictions in 16 states. Law professors and attorneys say that about 110 of them appear to warrant federal prosecution.
In one such message, a caller said, “We’re coming after you and every motherfucker that stole this election with our Second Amendment. Subpoenas be damned… You will be served lead.”
Another caller threatened: “You can’t run for governor when you’re already dead. We are going to hang you for treason, you fucking bitch. You’re going down.”
In addition to election officials, members of Congress have also been caught up in the “Trump hate tunnel,” as Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.) put it. Even Republicans have received death threats for supporting bipartisan infrastructure legislation.
Unlike the GOP-led “audits” of 2020 election results in battleground states like Arizona, which were obviously farcical to begin with and went nowhere, the party’s focus on elections boards and other often-overlooked roles in the electoral process could actually be consequential. And the volume of and vitriol contained in voicemails to elections officials seems to reflect how important its efforts are to the Trump base’s goal of getting him back in office.
In the meantime, Ted Cruz and others will likely continue to spread lies about voting, and then try to justify what his party is doing by claiming that many Americans simply have doubts about the election process, knowing full well that who is responsible for sowing those doubts in the first place.