WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine joined U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, and 17 other colleagues in a letter to the Department of Justice seeking an update on the actions of the Department’s Election Threats Task Force, which was established in July to receive and assess reports of threats against election workers. The Senators specifically requested information on the Task Force’s plans to facilitate the reporting, investigation, and prosecution of threats against election officials and election workers. This request follows a survey of election workers earlier this year which found that nearly one in three felt unsafe because of their job, nearly one in six received threats of violence, and more than one in six were concerned about their lives being threatened.
“In the last year, we have seen election officials and election workers face a barrage of threats and abusive conduct from those seeking to interfere with the certification of the 2020 election or overturn the results,” the Senators wrote.
“While existing laws protect voters from intimidation and violence, additional specific protections are needed for officials, workers, and volunteers responsible for operating polling stations, counting and processing ballots, and certifying election results. The lack of clear guidance for law enforcement left many election workers at risk, and in some instances election workers were told that threats against their safety are ‘protected political speech.’ The Department of Justice has previously acknowledged the ‘inadequate’ response to threats against election workers, and the need to do more to protect them from harm,” they continued.
“We commend the Department of Justice for taking these threats seriously and establishing the Election Threats Task Force earlier this year to receive and assess allegations and reports of threats against election workers,” they concluded.
Senators Warner and Kaine, who were in the Capitol during the violent attack orchestrated by people wanting to overturn an election, have long supported commonsense measures to protect our democracy from attacks. Kaine, a former civil rights lawyer, recently introduced his Freedom to Vote Act <https://www.kaine.senate.gov/press-releases/kaine-joins-klobuchar-and-colleagues-in-introducing-legislation-to-protect-freedom-to-vote-and-strengthen-our-democracy> , comprehensive legislation that reflects feedback from state and local election officials to advance commonsense election integrity reforms — including expanding access to the ballot, protecting our democracy against election interference, ensuring transparency of election expenditures, and ending partisan gerrymandering. The Senate will vote on the bill tomorrow.
The letter was also signed by U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Angus King (I-ME), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Ben Ray Luján (D-NM), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).
Full text of the letter can be found here <https://www.klobuchar.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/6/4/64240d9a-7ccf-4229-be25-b7f03b1d8b77/C870EC034310A9F247A0A6708A43E0EA.letter-from-senators-klobuchar-durbin-et.-al.-to-department-of-justice-on-election-threats-10.18.21.pdf> and below.