As electors across the country made official Joe Biden’s victory in the presidential race, U.S. Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon on Monday introduced a bill to make threats or intimidation against elections officials a federal crime.
Scanlon, a Democrat from Delaware County, also wrote to Attorney General William Barr, asking why the Department of Justice has not done more to investigate such threats. In a statement, Scanlon said her bill would give DOJ “more tools” to crack down on such actions.
She pointed to reports of death threats and other intimidation directed at elections officials in key states, including death threats against Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican who has forcefully refuted President Donald Trump’s baseless claims of massive electoral fraud.
“Worth noting is that such threats have been deployed against elections officials, volunteer poll workers, and electors from both major parties, and against unaffiliated career election workers,” Scanlon wrote in her letter to Barr. “While many Democratic and Republican election officials have condemned such behavior as corrosive to our government, we are concerned that, thus far, your Department has failed to investigate or address such efforts to interfere in the impartial administration of our federal elections.”
She added that “prompt and independent action by the DOJ to address these threats is crucial given the president’s tacit encouragement of such actions with false and inflammatory rhetoric.”
The DOJ did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Barr said this month that he has seen no evidence of election fraud on the scale that would affect the outcome of the results, despite Trump’s unrelenting and evidence-free claims that he was cheated out of victories in Pennsylvania and other critical swing states.
Following the president’s lead, a significant share of his supporters have refused to accept the outcome of the election and some have directed their fury at state and local elections officials.