Sep 30, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Voting official told: "I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP"

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold is seen delivering a speech.

Jena Griswold. Photo: AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold told Axios on Thursday, "We're seeing this 'Big Lie' get bigger," and as a result, she's receiving more personal threats for trying to protect voting access.

Why it matters: Roughly nine months after the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection and President Biden taking office, the ripples are spreading far from Washington — now to local election officials.

  • "The lies about 2020 are worse than they were in 2020," Griswold told Axios.

Driving the news: The secretary is advancing a lawsuit against a Republican county election clerk in Mesa County, Colorado.

  • The clerk is alleged to have been involved in a security breach of the county election systems.
  • Griswold told Axios she's received countless threats not just through professional email and phone lines but personal channels too.
  • "I KNOW WHERE YOU SLEEP, I SEE YOU SLEEPING. BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID. I hope you die," one message said.

Between the lines: In states like Colorado, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia, the idea that the 2020 presidential election was fraudulent and somehow stolen from Donald Trump has pushed voters to continue questioning — and, in some cases, threatening — their state officials who oversee elections.

  • Arizona's secretary of state, Democrat Kathy Hobbs, was recently given security detail following increased death threats after the state's 2020 election audit, CNN reported.
  • Georgia's secretary of state, Republican Brad Raffensperger, reported that he and his family received threats months after the election.
  • In May, Michigan's secretary of state, Democrat Jocelyn Benson, released a statement denouncing "bills based on the Big Lie" in her state.
  • Last December, "dozens of armed individuals stood outside my home shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns," Benson wrote in a statement.

The bottom line: Even without a President Trump in the Oval Office, his supporters are clinging to the idea he illegitimately lost the election. Election officials are paying part of the price.

  • "This is new," Griswold told Axios. "When I was first elected, I got a couple of threatening communications, but not like this. We’re seeing this 'Big Lie' get bigger and the amount of vitriol is getting worse."
  • "We won’t be intimidated," she said. "We won’t stop."
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