House

Democrats urge DOJ to address ‘insider threats’ from candidates who deny 2020 results

More than a dozen House Democrats are urging the Department of Justice (DOJ) to address “insider threats to election systems,” which they say are posed by candidates who are running to fill local election positions motivated by former President Trump’s false claims about the 2020 presidential election. 

In a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland dated Wednesday, the Democratic lawmakers said they are worried that those candidates may attempt to influence the outcomes of future races if they are installed as election officials.

“Unfortunately, many of the candidates seeking to fill newly vacated state and local election posts support former President Trump’s false claim that the 2020 election was stolen,” the lawmakers wrote. “We are concerned that this new cohort of election officials may be inclined to abuse their authority to directly influence the results of future elections.”

They pointed to “the recent resurgence of anti-democratic tactics among election officials in key battleground states,” adding that they are “deeply concerned about bad actors who may dismiss their legal obligations in order to secure victory for their favored candidate or candidates.”

The House members said there is an “active effort to recruit and convince election officials at all levels of governance to sabotage future elections by spreading conspiracy theories and promoting the claims of election deniers,” pointing to incidents in Michigan, Arizona and Pennsylvania and various races for secretary of state and state attorney general.

Trump has consistently argued that the 2020 presidential election was riddled with fraud, despite William Barr, Trump’s own attorney general, announcing in December 2020 that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud that would have altered the outcome of the race.

The lawmakers are specifically asking that the DOJ prioritize efforts to protect the integrity of the electoral system and work with states to probe and prosecute individuals who try to distort a fair and truthful tabulation. 

They also called on the department to consider additional steps such as deploying nonpartisan election monitors to polling sites. 

A DOJ spokesperson told The Hill in a statement on Wednesday that “the Department has received the letter and will review it.”

Democratic Reps. Deborah Ross (N.C.), Adam Schiff (Calif.), Ruben Gallego (Ariz.) and Terri Sewell (Ala.) led the letter, which was also signed by Democratic Reps. Tony Cardenas (Calif.), André Carson (Ind.), Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick (Fla.), Mark DeSaulnier (Calif.), Dwight Evans (Pa.), Mondaire Jones (N.Y.), Jim McGovern (Mass.), Joe Neguse (Colo.), Marie Newman (Ill.), Katie Porter (Calif.), Lucille Roybal-Allard (Calif.), Mary Gay Scanlon (Pa.), Eric Swalwell (Calif.) and Nikema Williams (Ga.).

— Updated at 4:47 p.m.

Tags Adam Schiff Donald Trump Dwight Evans Eric Swalwell Joe Neguse Lucille Roybal-Allard Mark DeSaulnier Mary Gay Scanlon Merrick Garland Mondaire Jones Ruben Gallego Terri Sewell Tony Cardenas William Barr

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