The Hill

By Jordain Carney

Senate Democrats are pushing the Department of Justice (DOJ) for details on threats against election workers and any related probes.

Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and 19 other Democratic senators sent a letter to the Justice Department on Monday asking for updates from the Election Threats Task Force, which the DOJ formed earlier this year to combat threats against election workers. 

"We must ensure that election workers are able to do their jobs free from threats, intimidation, or other improper influence. While Congress must pass stronger protections for election workers ... we also urge the Justice Department to take additional action under existing law," the senators wrote in the letter, which was obtained exclusively by The Hill ahead of its release.

"It is for this reason that we respectfully request an update on the actions that the Department’s Task Force has taken so far and on its plans to facilitate the reporting, investigation, and prosecution of threats against election officials and election workers," they added.

The Democratic senators are asking for details on the number of threats against election workers, volunteers or their family members and how many completed or ongoing investigations those threats have spawned.

They also want copies of any guidance from the FBI or the U.S. attorney's office related to prioritizing investigations or prosecutions of threats against election officials.  

The senators also praised the DOJ for "taking these threats seriously" and starting the task force, noting that the department is "prioritizing the identification, investigation, and prosecution of those who threaten or seek to harm election workers."

The Justice Department announced in July that it was starting the task force as the administration ramped up its 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 at the time. "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."

The task force, according to a Justice Department statement, combines efforts from multiple entities within the DOJ, including its criminal, civil rights and national security divisions, as well as the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security

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

A Reuters article from September identified more than 100 threats of death or violence against U.S. election workers spawned by claims by former President Trump and his supporters that the election was stolen. 

Of those 100, Reuters identified four arrests and no convictions.