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Politics DOJ launches task force to address violent threats against election workers

18:10  21 november  2021
18:10  21 november  2021 Source:   thehill.com

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The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday launched a task force aimed at combating violent threats against election workers following a spike in such incidents tied to the 2020 presidential election.

a group of people standing in a room: DOJ launches task force to address violent threats against election workers © Getty Images DOJ launches task force to address violent threats against election workers

The announcement comes after the DOJ last month indicated that criminal law enforcement would play a key role in the Biden administration's push to protect voting rights and safeguard elections.

"A threat to any election official, worker, or volunteer is a threat to democracy," said Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, who will lead the effort. "We will promptly and vigorously prosecute offenders to protect the rights of American voters, to punish those who engage in this criminal behavior, and to send the unmistakable message that such conduct will not be tolerated."

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The Hill has reached out to the DOJ requesting a tally of ongoing investigations, charges filed and any convictions secured.

An April survey of local election workers for the Brennan Center for Justice found that nearly 1 in 6 respondents received threats of violence, and almost 1 in 3 said they feel unsafe because of their job.

The surge in violent threats, fueled in large part by former President Trump's repeated lies about the 2020 election being stolen, has prompted growing alarm among Democratic lawmakers and voting rights advocates that election workers could leave their posts in droves.

"Our democracy is at stake, that's no exaggeration," Larry Norden, director of the Election Reform Program at the Brennan Center, told The Hill. "You cannot have free and fair elections without election workers who are able to ensure nonpartisan administration, and can do so without fear."

The DOJ in a Thursday statement said its new task force would combine efforts from multiple entities within the department, including its criminal, civil rights and national security divisions, as well as the FBI and Department of Homeland Security.

In a speech last month outlining the DOJ's election protection measures, Attorney General Merrick Garland said the department has "not been blind to the dramatic increase in menacing and violent threats" targeting election administrators.

"Such threats undermine our electoral process and violate a myriad of federal laws," Garland said during the June 11 speech in Washington.

Opinion | The Justice Department Is Turning a Blind Eye to White-Collar Crime .
Financial crime is at record-high levels while prosecutions are declining — and the lack of DOJ attention is costing Americans hundreds of billions of dollars.But antitrust is just one part of the much broader landscape of corporate and white-collar law enforcement. And in almost every other respect, after four years of the Trump administration rolling back scrutiny on everything from consumer fraud to corporate tax evasion, there is little indication that Merrick Garland’s Justice Department is moving to put teeth back into Washington’s approach.

usr: 1
This is interesting!