Current and former election officials in the United States are expressing frustration as President Donald Trump and his allies continue to challenge the results of the presidential race, especially as violent threats against these workers increase.
Tuesday brought two strong reprimands for the president’s behavior in the wake of his electoral defeat. In the Washington Post, former senior election security official Christopher Krebs – whom Trump sacked last month – explained how he and his team ensured that the November 3 election was “the safest in the world.” history of the United States ”. The editorial came a day after one of Trump’s lawyers publicly said Krebs should be shot.
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In Georgia, state voting systems implementer Gabriel Sterling was visibly angry when he berated Trump and Republicans not only for undermining confidence in the election, but also for failing to not condemn the violent threats Sterling made to him and other state election officials.
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“It has to stop,” he said, his voice rising and shaking at times.
“We need you to take action, and if you want to take a leadership position, show it.”
Sterling also directed his anger at the two US Senators from Georgia, David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, who are both stuck in close races against the Democrats and called on GOP Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to step down for having said he mismanaged the election.
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People drove in trailers past Raffensperger’s house, entered his property and sent sexualized threats on his wife’s cell phone, Sterling said. Raffensperger and Sterling both have police officers stationed outside their homes, and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation said it was investigating possible threats against officials to determine their credibility.
Sterling said his anger boiled over when he learned that a Dominion Voting Systems contractor helping with the recent recount effort in suburban Gwinnett County had received death threats, after someone filmed a video of him uploading a report to a county computer and falsely stated that the young man was manipulating election data.
“There’s a noose over there with his name on it. This is not true, ”Sterling said, adding that the entrepreneur had not sought to gain attention by taking a prominent position like Sterling or running for positions like Raffensperger.
“This kid took a job. He just took a job.
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Trump last week called Raffensperger an “enemy of the people,” Sterling noted, adding, “It helped open the floodgates to this kind of shit.”
Almost a month after Joe Biden was declared president-elect, and as states certify their election results, Trump refuses to back down despite the transition continuing. His lawyers and other Republicans are pushing forward with more court challenges in battlefield states as their legal losses rise, with judges dismissing past lawsuits for lack of evidence of widespread fraud.
Yet Trump along with allies like Rudy Giuliani and members of the conservative media have only escalated their baseless claims, especially against Dominion. Giuliani and other attorneys working on Trump’s behalf have launched a crazy theory claiming that the Dominion’s voting machines were programmed to change votes in favor of a particular candidate, which has been debunked by the company and several independent investigations .
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In his Washington Post op-ed, Krebs explained how the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – which Trump created in 2018 to protect against foreign electoral interference and named Krebs as head – has helped states like Georgia adopt vote counting machines that create paper archives. These records could then be matched with automatic tabs to confirm accuracy.
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His team also worked to correct shortcomings in voting technology and other systems that could be vulnerable to hackers and other forms of interference.
“This point cannot be emphasized enough: Secretaries of State in Georgia, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania, as well as officials in Wisconsin, all worked overtime to ensure that there was a paper trail that could be verified or narrated by hand. regardless of any allegedly pirated software or hardware, ”Krebs wrote, listing the battlefield states that voted for Biden and drew Trump’s ire.
“The 2020 election was the safest in US history. This success should be celebrated by all Americans, not undermined in the service of a deeply anti-American goal.
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Krebs’ agency released a similar statement following the election, while Krebs himself regularly battled disinformation on social media, prompting Trump to fire him. Krebs has continued to denounce the president’s claims and those of his supporters since his dismissal.
On Monday, Trump campaign lawyer and former US attorney Joseph DiGenova called for a cable show to say Krebs should be “brought out at dawn and shot.” Krebs told NBC News on Tuesday that he was considering legal action over DiGenova’s “dangerous language”.
A statement by DiGenova released by the Trump campaign attempted to present the comments as a joke, insisting that “it was obvious that my remarks were sarcastic and joking.
“Of course I wish Mr. Krebs no harm,” he said. “It was hyperbole in a political speech.”
Krebs wrote that he “is not going to be intimidated by these threats to tell the truth to the American people.”
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Sterling in Georgia has urged Trump to step in and tell his supporters not to threaten or commit acts of violence.
“Someone is going to get hurt. Someone is going to get shot. Someone’s going to get killed, ”Sterling said.
Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh told Reuters that the president’s team is trying to make sure “all legal votes are counted and all illegal votes are not. No one should engage in threats or violence, and if that has happened, we fully condemn it. ”
Yet in response to the widely circulated video of Sterling’s remarks, Trump continued to falsely insist that the election was “rigged” and called on Raffensperger and Governor Brian Kemp to “expose massive electoral fraud in Georgia. “.
Republican Senators Perdue and Loeffler’s campaigns both issued statements Tuesday night condemning the violence but also criticizing election officials.
“Like many officials, as someone who has been the subject of threats, Senator Loeffler of course condemns violence of any kind. How ridiculous to suggest otherwise, ”Loeffler campaign spokesperson Stephen Lawson said.
“We also condemn the inaction and lack of accountability in the process of our electoral system – and will not apologize for speaking out against it.”
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Attorney General William Barr told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his Justice Department had found no evidence of widespread electoral fraud that could change the outcome of the election.
His comments came after the Trump campaign and Republicans filed multiple lawsuits in Wisconsin to disqualify thousands of ballots or completely nullify state certification of his election results.
The campaign and its allies have launched similar legal battles in Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Michigan.
– With files from The Associated Press and Reuters
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