Elections officials, local lawmakers target of violent threats
Anger and suspicion over the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election are fueling threats and intimidation toward elections officials and lawmakers.
A Maryland man was charged this week with threatening to kill the family members of a House member. Prosecutors said the man was worried the Maryland lawmaker, who wasn’t named in the indictment, would try to “mess” with his vote.
A New Hampshire woman was charged this week with sending threats to a Republican member of a Detroit-area election board who refused to certify the election results.
President-elect Joseph R. Biden’s victory is set to be reaffirmed next month when a new Congress convenes to count each state’s Electoral College votes.
President Trump has refused to concede, claiming widespread fraud and urging his Republican allies to challenge the results. He repeatedly railed against voting machine software deleting or switching votes for him, while claiming Trump ballots were stolen or destroyed.
His efforts to overturn the results have been unsuccessful, and even his attorney general disputed his claims of widespread election fraud.
Fear and distrust abound on both sides of the political divide, with pro-Trump Republicans lashing out over what they see as a stolen election and Democrats angry about the challenges to the legitimacy of a Biden presidency.
With passions running high, people are directing their anger toward elected officials.
Authorities in Arizona are investigating “ongoing and escalating” threats against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, the state’s top elections official. Ms. Hobbs, a Democrat, has lambasted Mr. Trump for spreading “misinformation” about the election, which she says prompted the threats.
One threat posted on Parler, a social media site popular with conservatives, reads: “Let’s burn her house down and kill her family and teach these fraudsters a lesson.”
Ms. Hobbs’s home address, personal information and son’s cellphone number also were posted on Parler.
Arizona officials said the investigation is ongoing.
In Georgia, one of the most contested states of this past election, a slew of local lawmakers have been targeted.
After challenging election fraud claims by Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, state Sen. Elena Parent was notified that her personal information had been posted online. A far-right message board posted photos of her, polling users and what form of “punishment” she should receive, with the most common response being sexual violence against her and execution.
In addition, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Rafensperger and his wife said they received threats. And an elections worker in the state said he went into hiding last month after a debunked video spurred accusations he destroyed ballots.
State elections official Gabriel Sterling said in a press conference last week that the threats have “gone too far.”
“Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is going to get shot. Someone is going to get killed,” he said. “And it’s not right.”
The threats also come from the political left.
In Michigan, prosecutors say Katelyn Jones, 23, was outraged that Monica Palmer, chairwoman of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers, refused to sign off on Mr. Biden’s win.
Ms. Jones texted Ms. Palmer two graphic photos of a deceased, mutilated nude woman lying on the ground, according to court documents. Those photos were followed by a third of Ms. Palmer’s minor daughter.
“I’d just like you to imagine that’s your beautiful daughter,” Ms. Jones said of the texts, according to a criminal complaint.
Other texts allegedly sent by Ms. Jones called Ms. Palmer a “disgusting racist b–-” and “a terrorist.”
Federal prosecutors in Maryland say Sidhartha Kuma Mathur, 34, delivered threats to an unidentified congressman via voicemail and through the congressman’s website.
On Dec. 10, the congressman received a voicemail that stated: “If you even mess with my vote, I’m going to come, and I’ll slit your throat, and I’ll kill your family.”
The message closed with: “You represent me, I’ll kill you.”
Minutes earlier, the congressman’s website received a written threat to blow up his district office, according to court documents. The message continued:
“I know where you and your family lives. You will be ended. You’re a animal that needs to be tortured and skinned alive.”
Federal authorities say they traced the threats back to Mr. Mathur because he left behind his actual phone number on the voicemail. The email threat was linked to an IP address at Mr. Mathur’s physical address, prosecutors said.