Election Officials Worry About Staff Safety Amid Protests
Election officials in several states are worried about the safety of their staffs amid a stream of threats and gatherings of angry protesters outside their doors, drawn by President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud in the race for the White House, the Associated Press reports. “I can tell you that my wife and my mother are very concerned for me,” said Joe Gloria, registrar in Las Vegas’ Clark County. His staff is bolstering security and tracking vehicles coming and going from the election offices. Groups of Trump supporters have gathered at vote tabulation sites in Phoenix, Detroit and Philadelphia, decrying counts that showed Democrat Joe Biden leading or gaining ground. While the protests have not been violent, local officials were distressed by the crowds and concerned about the relentless accusations. Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel tweeted a plea to “stop making harassing & threatening calls” to her staff.
Police in Philadelphia arrested two men on firearms charges Thursday night after receiving a tip that an armed group from out of state was headed to the city’s vote-counting center, the Washington Post reports. Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said her main concern was staff safety and that sheriff’s deputies were providing protection. She said the protesters were “causing delay and disruption and preventing those employees from doing their job.” On Thursday, 100 Trump supporters gathered at the Maricopa County election center in Phoenix, some carrying military-style rifles and handguns. In Atlanta, 100 chanting Trump supporters gathered outside State Farm Arena as votes were counted. Police officers monitored the scene. Facebook banned a large group called “Stop the Steal” that Trump supporters were using to organize protests. Some members called for violence.