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Polling stations across the country are bolstering security ahead of the November midterm elections with cameras, plexiglass and fences being installed and some state officials are using private bodyguards to protect themselves from threats.
Most of the action takes place in swing states — the states that had the biggest matches between Joe Biden and Donald Trump in the 2020 game — and became the target of Trump’s wrath when Biden won them.
In Wisconsin, cameras and Plexiglas have been installed in the reception area of a district election office in Madison, the capital, after a man in camouflage and a mask tried to open closed doors during April’s primary. New York Times reported.
In Arizona’s Maricopa County, which became the epicenter of the state’s recount in the 2020 election, election department officials strengthened security ahead of last month’s primaries.
“We have cameras 24/7,” Megan Gilbertson of the Maricopa County Election Department told a local Fox New station.
In addition, the state conducted background checks on staff, added permanent fencing around the building and has 24/7 security.
Maricopa County was ground zero for Trump supporters’ attempt to undo Biden’s Arizona victory. Multiple lawsuits and recounts confirmed his victory, but Trump and his supporters still allege fraud.
Polling stations across the country are bolstering security ahead of November’s midterm elections: Security fences erected around Maricopa County’s Election Department in Phoenix
In Colorado, Secretary of State and Democrat, Jena Griswold, is forced to pay private security out of her budget after a series of threats.
“They called for me to be hanged,” Griswold told the Times. ‘It’s a long weekend. I’m home alone and only get seven hours of state police coverage.’
Griswold is the highest-ranking election official in the state, who uses a universal mail-in system for his ballots. She was the first Democrat to become Secretary of State in Colorado in more than 50 years and is up for re-election this cycle.
Her opponent is a city clerk who is facing criminal charges for allegedly compromising voting equipment and election security.
She became nationally known in 2020 when she challenged election misinformation on national TV and went after Trump on Twitter after his unproven claims that postal ballots were less secure.
She received thousands of threats. Mike Lindell, Trump’s ally and conspiracy theorist, accused her of murder.
“Jena Griswold is a criminal who transcends all criminals,” Lindell said on his online show. “I’ve got news for you, Jena, it’s too late, you’ve already committed a murder and we caught you.”
In June, a Nebraska man pleaded guilty to making death threats against Griswold.
Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold has been forced to pay for private security from her budget after a series of threats
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson said potential violence is the biggest threat to the 2022 election
She, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, and Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson have been targeted by those who make the false claim that Trump has won the election.
Benson said on Sunday that potential violence and disruption are the biggest threats to November’s election, with misinformation fueling those concerns.
She said election officials from both parties are working with law enforcement to protect the Nov. 8 election and make it clear that there will be consequences for those who try to interfere.
“Violence and disruption primarily on election day and in the days surrounding the election. And second, there is concern about the continued spread of misinformation, which naturally fuels the potential for additional threats, intimidation and even violence on election day,” she told CBS’ Face the Nation.
To secure the midterm elections, the US Department of Justice has established the Election Threats Task Force to investigate threats of violence against election workers.
In June, the Department of Homeland Security warned of possible violence, particularly against election officials, by individuals or small groups motivated by conspiracy theories and “false and misleading stories.”
Maricopa County Workers Talk About the 2020 Arizona Presidential Election Ballots
Former Fulton County election official Shaye Moss then testified before the Jan. 6 commission about the harassment she faced. Trump accused her of aiding voter fraud
Arizona, Georgia, Wisconsin are swing states that changed from red for Trump in 2016 to blue for Joe Biden in 2020. However, Biden only won those states by extremely narrow margins – 0.4 percent in Arizona, 0.3 percent in Georgia, and 0.6 percent in Wisconsin.
The narrow margins of victory led Trump, in part, to claim that the election was rigged and stolen by a Democratic plot to deploy thousands of counterfeit ballots to help Biden win the swingstates that launched him as president in 2016.
The former president continues to push the false claim he won in 2020.
Trump jumped on the offensive Monday, ripping off law enforcement again, in a possible allusion to the way the FBI processed information about Hunter Biden’s laptop.
Are they going to change the results of the 2020 presidential election, now that the FBI and DOJ have been caught in a massive and determinative electoral fraud? They should!!!’ Trump wrote on his Truth Social account.
Election workers have testified to the threats they have faced in the wake of Trump’s conspiracy claim.
Former Fulton County election official Shaye Moss testified in June before the special committee investigating the January 6 uprising over the harassment she and her mother, also a former election official, faced after Trump accused her of complicity in voter fraud in Georgia.
“It has turned my life upside down,” Moss said, adding that she barely leaves the house, has gained 60 pounds and often doesn’t even introduce herself by her real name. She said protesters even broke into her grandmother’s house.
‘I have been threatened and harassed. A stranger told me: ‘Be happy’ [it’s] 2020 and not 1920.” Others said I should hang next to my mother for committing treason. My son got some of those threats.”
Her mother, Ruby Freeman, told the panel, “I don’t feel safe anywhere. Nowhere. Do you know how it feels when the President of the United States targets you?’