DOJ Charges 20 for Threats to Election Workers

( – The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced investigations into “dozens” of reports from election workers of alleged threats and have already pressed charges on at least 20 individuals concerning those reports.

Between 2020 and 2022, several threats to election workers were reported across the country. A significant number of these threats occurred in Arizona, a major swing state that cost former President Donald Trump the 2020 presidential race, and one of those he won in 2016.

Head of the Justice Department’s Election Threats Task Force, John Dixon Keller, said at a press conference in Phoenix on Monday, March 25th, that the country has entered a “new era” where scapegoating, targeting, and attacking “the election community” is now normal.

One of those workers in Arizona who received death threats was Governor Katie Hobbs after her hotly contested victory over Kari Lake in 2022. Hours before the DOJ’s announcement, 46-year-old Joshua Russell of Ohio was sentenced to two and a half years in prison for making death threats against Hobbs in 2022 while she was still Arizona Secretary of State. Russel pleaded guilty last August to sending a threatening interstate communication to Hobbs.

Russell is one of 13 facing similar charges convicted, according to Keller, 10 of whom have now been sentenced. Seven of those 10 sentences gave the defendants 18 months behind bars. Keller also noted that Attorney General Merrick Garland’s task force has received “widespread” reports. The task force was formed in 2021 as a response to the increased threats reported by election officials.

Despite the increase, most threat reports did not warrant deeper investigation nor did they result in criminal cases. Keller noted that “prosecution alone is not the answer” to the problem because much of the increased hostility doesn’t “cross the line into criminal threats.”

Keller maintains that normalizing such “personal threats and attacks” against officials and their friends and families contributes to “an election environment” where “previously unthinkable crimes” have become more prevalent. He concluded by noting that “death threats are not debate” nor are they protected under the Constitution.

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