Nov 9, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Philadelphia GOP official says office getting death threats amid vote counting

 Trump and Biden supporters gathered at the ballot counting center as Biden supporters early celebrate in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on November 6
Trump and Biden supporters rally at the ballot counting center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on Friday. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Republican Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt has revealed staff in his office that runs the election vote count have been receiving death threats since last week.

Details: "From the inside looking out, it feels all very deranged," Schmidt told CBS' "60 Minutes" in an interview broadcast Sunday.

  • Schmidt confirmed to CBS' Bill Whitaker that his office had faced accusations that they were cheating or manipulating the vote "or calls to our offices reminding us that 'this is what the Second Amendment is for, people like us."
  • Whittaker put it to Schmidt that this was "a not so veiled death threat." Schmidt replied, "Yes, for counting votes in a democracy."

Driving the news: President Trump has filed lawsuits and baselessly alleged widespread voter fraud in Pennsylvania and elsewhere as he refuses to concede to President-elect Biden.

  • Whittaker asked Schmidt if "bad things happen in Philadelphia," as Trump had suggested. Schmidt replied: "In the birthplace of our republic, counting votes is not a bad thing. Counting votes cast on or before Election Day by eligible voters is not corruption. It is not cheating. It is democracy."
"We are counting eligible votes cast by voters. The controversy surrounding it is something I don't understand. It's people making accusations that we wouldn't count those votes or people are adding fraudulent votes or just, coming up with, just, all sorts of crazy stuff."
ā€” Schmidt

Of note: Sheriff's deputies in tactical gear had to move inside the Maricopa County Elections center in Arizona last Wednesday night as Trump supporters rallied outside chanting "count the votes!" as elections officials continued to tabulate ballots in the state that Biden is also projected to win.

Go deeper: Inside Trump's legal warfare

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