‘Kill Them’: Arizona Election Workers Face Medium Threat

November 6 (Reuters) – Election officers in Arizona’s most contested counties face more than 100 violent threats and threatening communications ahead of Tuesday’s midterm elections, most of them former President Donald Trump and his allies. It was based on an election conspiracy theory promoted by the Harassment in Maricopa County includes threatening emails and social media posts, threats to disseminate personal information online, threats to arrive at work, and a nearly 1,600-page document obtained by Reuters through a request for public records of threats and threats-related security records and communications. Staff photo shoots were included. Harassment of Voters from July 11 to August 22 On the 22nd, the county elections office documented at least 140 threats and other hostile communications. “You will all be executed.” One said. Another wrote, “I tied wires to my limbs and dragged them around while tied to a car.” This document presents the results of election conspiracy theories as voters nominate candidates for the August midterm elections. Many threats in Maricopa County that helped President Joe Biden overthrow Trump in 2020 cited refuted claims of fake ballots, rigged voting machines and corrupt election officials. A man who embraced right-wing conspiracy theories about the husband of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and supporters questioning the legitimacy of the 2020 elections and prominent Republican figures in Phoenix, according to interviews with Republican and Democrat election officials from 10 states Harassment has left some election staff unsettled, according to previously unreported incidents recorded in emails and interviews in Maricopa County, a population of 4.5 million, including the Many contingent workers of county officials have left the company after being criticized from the outside. Stephen Richer, the county recorder overseeing Maricopa’s elections at the polls this coming August, said in an interview in the second primary: According to an email Richer sent to county officials, a temporary worker shed tears when a stranger took a picture of her. The unidentified worker left work early and did not return, she told Richer. She just wanted a job. In August. 3, Strangers in tactical gear, calling themselves “First Amendment Inspectors,” circled the Electoral Department building, pointing at staff and license plates with cameras. According to August, residents pledged to continue monitoring until the midterm exam. Maricopa’s Election Director Scott Jarrett in 4 emails to county officials “It is very similar to predatory behavior and it looks like we are being stalked,” according to legal experts nationwide, including more than 120 people who could justify prosecution. by Jarrett. Many officials said they hoped the bullying would decrease over time after the 2020 results were confirmed. But the attacks continued, and without evidence, sparked by right-wing media figures and groups who continue to view election officials as involved in a plot by China, Democratic officials, and manufacturers of voting equipment to usurp Trump’s second presidency. On April 26, an email from Arizona’s Electoral Commission President Lisa Marra, representing Arizona’s elections officials, revealed that in April, several people were killed in Arizona’s electoral campaigns in which officials simulated violence at a polling place. 15 counties in the state. In a training to help government officials prepare for Election Day violence, participants emailed more than a dozen local election officials to say, “It was understandable and confusing. Ensure election safety for all.” Maricopa officials have sometimes been overwhelmed by threatening posts on social media and right-wing bulletin boards calling for the execution or hanging of workers. Some messages asked for the official’s home address, including those promising a “late night visit”. According to an email between county officials, employees were filmed arriving and leaving the office. 2 In the primary election, the county’s information security officer sent an email to the FBI asking for help. “I appreciate the limits of what the FBI can do, but I want to emphasize this point,” wrote Michael Moore, director of information security at the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office. . “Our employees are under threat,” he added. “When no one wants to work for an election, it will become increasingly difficult for us to get the job done.” The FBI agent said on August 8, “As you said, what we can do is limited. We only investigate violations of federal law.” 4 emails. Reporting the threat to local law enforcement, the agent wrote, was “the only thing I can suggest at this time, even if no action has been taken.” The FBI declined to comment on the agent’s response to Moore. He also declined to confirm or deny that there was an ongoing investigation into the threat, although Moore did not respond to a request for comment, but his boss, Richer, said in a statement that he greatly appreciated the FBI’s partnership and vigilance. The statement said, “This is an emotional topic in nature. Communication of the most sinister nature has been sent to our team over and over again,” the statement said. One anonymous sender using the privacy-protected email service ProtonMail has been sending “harassing emails” for almost a year. In an email sent to the FBI on August 4, One message warned Richer that he would be “hanged as a traitor.” “Harassment and intimidation affected the mental health of the election staff,” Jarrett wrote in a memo dated Aug. 4. County officials posted a total of more than 100 messages and social media posts to the FBI and state counter-terrorism. Reuters found no evidence that officials viewed the message as violating broad definitions Constitutionally-protected English The U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment on certain ongoing investigations, but nationally litigated elections officials. Eight people, including two targeting Maricopa County officials, are facing federal prosecution for threats, Justice Department spokeswoman Joshua Stueve said: “The overwhelming majority ”s complaints “do not include threats of unlawful violence,” he said. They are often hostile, harassing and abusive. “They deserve better treatment,” Stewart said. Online inspiration According to internal messages among Maricopa officials, misinformation on right-wing websites and social media fueled hostility toward election staff. According to a website that had a history of posting false articles on July 31, a gateway expert in favor of pro-Trump, Maricopa County elections officials allowed employee technicians to gain unauthorized access to computer server rooms to audit 2020 election data set to be audited. reported to have been deleted. The website has published official and technical names and photos. One reader threatened in the comments section of Gateway Pundit: “Nothing will change until we start hanging this evil.” Another proposed death to computer technology identified in the story: “Hang the thief to the nearest tree so people can see what happens to the traitors.” In response to the subpoena, the county elections director ordered the servers to be shut down for delivery to the Arizona State Senate. A review of the server records confirmed that nothing was deleted, a spokesperson told Reuters. All data from the 2020 election was archived and preserved several months ago. Election officials said in a Gateway Pundit article that “there is a tendency for threats to skyrocket.” The county’s head of information security, Moore, said in an email sent to the FBI on November 18, 2021. He added that the stories are often “obviously inaccurate.” A Reuters survey published in December of last year found that Gateway Pundit cited citations from more than 100 threatening and hostile communications with 25 election officials in the year following the 2020 election. Last August, provocative right-wing Charlie Kirk posted a comment on Telegram accusing county recorder Richer and “his entourage” of making Arizona’s election a “third-world circus”. One reader left a comment. Another simply added, “Kill them.” Gateway Pundit and Kirk did not respond to requests for comment. After a security assessment by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in late 2021, Maricopa reinforced doors, added shatterproof film to windows, and bought earlier. Documents say there is a first aid kit, but the harassment continues. “It’s a mental health issue,” said Jarrett, county elections director, in an email to county officials two days after the primary election. “However, allowing these predatory activities to occur undermines and threatens the survival of the electoral department.” Reports by Linda So, Peter Eisler and Jason Szep; Edited by Suzanne GoldenbergOur Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principle.
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