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The 2022 U.S. Midterm Elections’ Top Security Issue: Death Threats

Domestic threats against election workers are out of control

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections in the United States, law enforcement, intelligence and election officials were on high alert for digital attacks and influence operations after Russia demonstrated the reality of these threats by targeting the presidential elections in 2016. Six years later, the threat of hacking and malign foreign influence remain, but 2022 is a different time and a new top-line risk has emerged: physical safety threats to election officials, their families and their workplaces.

In July 2021 the Department of Justice launched a task force to counter threats against election workers, and the US Election Assistance Commission released security guidance for election professionals. But in public comments this week, lawmakers, top national security officials, and election administrators themselves all expressed concern that misinformation about the security and validity of U.S. voting continues to shape a new threat landscape going into the midterms.

“In New Mexico, the conspiracies about our voting and election systems have gripped a certain portion of the electorate and have caused people to act,” said New Mexico’s Secretary of State and top election official Maggie Toulouse Oliver when she testified before the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee yesterday. “During the 2020 election cycle, I was doxxed and had to leave my home for weeks under state police protection. Since 2020, my office has certainly seen an uptick in social media trolling, aggrieved emails, calls into our office and other communications that parrot the misinformation circulating widely in the national discourse. But more recently, especially since our June 2022 primary election, my office has experienced pointed threats serious enough to be referred to law enforcement.”

Please select this link to read the complete article from WIRED.

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