2. Election officials under attack
Election officials across Minnesota are facing threats and vitriol from voters questioning the 2020 results, leading some local administrators to consider early retirement, Secretary of State Steve Simon tells Axios.
- "There is real anxiety out there among people who run elections," Simon told Torey in an interview. "And it's deeply disturbing."
The big picture: False claims that the 2020 election was "stolen"— popularized by former President Trump and other Republicans, including some in Minnesota — are fueling backlash and intimidation campaigns across the country.
- A Reuters investigation published in September documented more than 100 threats of violence or death targeting election officials and workers since last year's race. The reporting uncovered only four arrests — and zero convictions.
Zoom in: Some threats in Minnesota have been serious and specific enough to be reported to law enforcement. In January, following the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, Simon said he and his wife considered temporarily moving their family into a hotel.
What's changed: Simon's office has seen shifts in both the tenor and the target of complaints from the public. Instead of raising concerns about the actions of specific candidates or campaigns, angry members of the public are "alleging that people running elections are involved in the wrongdoing."
- One July tweet targeting Simon and other top DFL lawmakers suggested "treason punished by death" was "the only way to deal with them, so it never happens again."
What he's saying: Simon condemned the rhetoric from Trump and others, saying it "eats away at the fabric of democracy and it eats away at the well-deserved confidence people have in elections."
What to watch: The Justice Department launched a task force to investigate and prosecute threats against election officials.
- Meanwhile, some members of Congress, including U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, are pushing for stronger protections for election workers.
Read and share the full interview.