A top election official in Arizona said Wednesday that President Donald Trump’s continued efforts to undermine the election through baseless lies and conspiracies have contributed to “ongoing and escalating” threats of violence directed against herself, her family, and her staff.
“There are those, including the president, members of Congress and other elected officials, who are perpetuating misinformation and are encouraging others to distrust the election results in a manner that violates the oath of office they took,” Katie Hobbs, Arizona’s secretary of state, said in a statement. “It is well past time that they stop. Their words and actions have consequences.”
As the state’s chief election officer, Hobbs is in charge of overseeing and certifying the results of all elections in Arizona. While the results for the Nov. 3 presidential election have not yet been certified, multiple media outlets, including BuzzFeed News, have named Joe Biden the winner of Arizona’s electoral votes. According to unofficial results, Biden won the state by a margin of more than 10,000 votes.
In the days after Election Day, as more mail-ballots were counted and it became clear that Trump had lost, armed supporters converged on elections offices in Arizona, demanded entry to a vote-counting site in Michigan, and disrupted a press conference in Nevada.
The confrontations made election officials and ballot counters fearful for their safety and prompted additional security at the offices where they were working.
But as the president continues spreading lies about the results in an attempt to undermine and delay Biden’s win, Hobbs, a Democrat, said she and her staffers have continued to receive threats of violence.
“These actions are utterly abhorrent, especially when directed at my family and my staff,” she said. “They are a symptom of a deeper problem in our state and country — the consistent and systematic undermining of trust in each other and our democratic process.”
The statement comes after Hobbs told KPNX, a local news station, that a death threat was made against her and her family on Parler, a social media site that’s popular among far-right extremists.
“The threat was something like, ‘Let’s burn her house down and kill her and her family, and teach these fraudsters a lesson,’” Hobbs told the local TV station.
A spokesperson for the secretary of state’s office told BuzzFeed News the threats have come via email, social media, and phone calls, adding that they have been reporting the threats to their security officer, who has been working with the Arizona Counter Terrorism Information Center.
“Personal contact information, including her address, have been published, resulting in additional harassment,” Sophia Solis, public information officer for the secretary of state, said in an email.
Surveillance video obtained by ABC 15 showed protesters waving flags and playing music, including “God Bless the USA,” which is often played at Trump rallies, outside the secretary’s home.
Hobbs also placed blame on Arizona’s Republican governor and Trump surrogate Doug Ducey, saying his “deafening silence has contributed to the growing unrest” over the election.
When asked about the secretary’s statement during a press conference on the coronavirus pandemic, Ducey called the threats “completely unacceptable” but declined to accept the election results, saying he wanted to wait for the legal challenges to be resolved in court.
“I denounce any threats of violence against anyone in elective office or any Arizonan or American,” Ducey told reporters. “That’s different than a court challenge, OK? A court challenge will play itself out, but it’s completely unacceptable any threats of violence.”
He added that his office is working with the secretary to make resources from the state’s Department of Public Safety available as “necessary in any way to protect her.”
Hobbs called on him to “stand up for the truth.”
“When facing unimaginable challenges this election year, Arizonans stepped up,” she said. “More people are registered to vote in our state than ever before, election participation has been at historic highs, thousands have answered the call to work at voting locations during a pandemic, and people have made their voices heard.”