Speed Reads

scary

Ongoing election harassment has vulnerable secretaries of state asking for protection and 'real consequences'

Secretaries of state in places like Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, and Pennsylvania, among others, are still living in "constant terror" after being targeted by former President Donald Trump's allegations of widespread election fraud, CNN reports.

The ongoing problem is unique in that it's relatively novel — law enforcement, as well as the federal government, hasn't traditionally had to protect the "mundane" work of the secretary of state, writes CNN. But, considering the roles "enormous power in administering elections," they are now being targeted by angry constituents. Unfortunately, given the lack of precedent, offices don't have the budgets to monitor threats, nor are there protection systems in place (on a state or federal level), which is leading to "long-term emotional and psychological trauma" for officials and staffers alike, per CNN.

Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democrat, received a voicemail in September telling her "you will never be safe in Arizona again." Over the summer, Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold, also a Democrat, received an email that read: "I'm really jonzing to see your purple face after you've been hanged."

"I take these threats very seriously," Griswold told CNN. "It's absolutely getting worse."

Most officials predict the frightening messages will increase into next year, as Republicans continue to position election fraud as a pillar of their campaigns. Said Jocelyn Benson, Michigan's Democratic secretary of state: "As we close in on next year's election and 2024, I think it will simply continue to escalate, unless there are real consequences."

Some officials, like Grisworld, are therefore asking for extra protection — but to no avail. "When someone says they know where I live and I should be afraid for my life," Grisworld said, "I take that as a threat and I believe the state of Colorado should, too."