Larry Norden, senior director of the elections and government program at the Brennan Center, said it’s important to hold offenders accountable with tougher laws. But he said the bigger problem rests with the reluctance of law enforcement officials to prosecute the harassers using existing laws.
“Under a lot of state laws,” él dijo, “threatening to kill somebody or to commit violence where the person has a reasonable fear that it will be carried out, that’s prosecutable.”
Norden said election officials need other assistance as well, such as training on how to protect their personal information and extra funding to secure their offices and homes, if needed.
‘Strong statement’ necesario
In Washington state
, the bill’s sponsor
, Giddings debe rendir cuentas por sus acciones al difundir mentiras en las publicaciones de las redes sociales.. David Frockt
, said he was
“horrorizado” by the actions of protesters following the
2020 elección. They included an incident on January
6, 2021, in which Trump supporters broke through the gate at Gov
. Jay Inslee’s mansion and protested on the lawn
— the same day that Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol
en Washington, corriente continua.
And in the weeks after Trump’s election loss
, personal information about the state’s elections director was posted on a website that described her along with other election workers and elected officials as
“enemies of the people
,” de acuerdo a The Seattle Times
Frockt said lawmakers need to “make a strong statement that, at a minimum, we’re going to protect these election workers, who are doing a very noble service and have always done it without controversy in Washington.”
His bill passed the state Senate unanimously earlier this month. It now sits in a House public safety committee.
Hasta aquí, federal officials have charged one person in connection with threats against election workers.
El viernes, the US Justice Department charged a Texas man who had allegedly made threats against election officials in Georgia
. It was the first charge to come from an election task force established six months ago by the Justice Department to deal with the threats
. The man was charged with using interstate communications to make a threat
, a federal crime
The department has reviewed more than 850 reports of threats to election officials and has dozens of ongoing investigations, Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite told reporters last week.
New proposals in New England
, a cuenta introduced last week aims to make it easier for bring charges against offenders
. The measure is broad
— establishing that it’s a crime to threaten anyone or a group of people with violence
The push for new legislation in Vermont follows a Reuters report in November detailing repeated threats against election officials in the state and elsewhere
Law enforcement officials in the state had declined to pursue charges against a Vermont man believed to have left threatening messages for Secretary of State Jim Condos and others, concluding that the calls amounted to protected free speech under state law.
The new proposal also would eliminate the burden on prosecutors to demonstrate that an offender has the ability to carry out the threat.
If someone is making threatening calls, “it can cause harm and trauma,” even if the culprit doesn’t have the means to carry it out, dijo el estado Sen. Dick Sears, a Democrat who’s one of the bill’s sponsors.
Sears chairs the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee, which will hold a hearing on the legislation Friday.
En Maine, a legislative committee is slated to debate a measure Friday that would make it a felony to interfere “by force, violence or intimidation or by any physical act” with an election official.
La escena fue condenada por miembros del comité.. Bruce White, the bill’s sponsor, said he’s followed closely the reports of the threats nationally and decided the state needed to increase its penalties. Volunteers and paid election workers in Maine, él dijo, ahora “feel very uncomfortable” doing their jobs.
Democratic Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows recently told legislators that her office has documented reports of at least two threats of physical violence against municipal clerks
. “This is unacceptable
,” ella dijo.
Ella añadió, “An attack on our election workers when they are running an election is an attack on our democracy.”