Election officials in some battleground states worried about safety of ballot counters

Election officials in some battleground states worried about safety of ballot counters
Posted at 7:54 AM, Nov 06, 2020

Election officials across the country say they are worried about their staff's safety as the presidential race remains too close to call three days after Election Day.

Officials in battleground states like Arizona, Nevada and Pennsylvania say ballot counters have face threats from protesters who have been demonstrating in front of election centers in their states.

"I can tell you that my wife and my mother are very concerned for me,” Joe Gloria, the registrar in Clark County, Nevada, said during a press conference Thursday.

There have been no reports of violence against ballot counters as of Friday morning. However, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia reports that police have thwarted a plot to attack the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where Philadelphia-area ballots are currently being tallied.

Conservative protesters have also gathered at ballot-counting centers in Phoenix and Atlanta. The demonstrators have called for officials to continue counting ballots in Arizona — where Biden's lead has shrunk in recent days — while the AP reports that protesters in Atlanta were concerned about voter fraud.

In Michigan, state Attorney General Dana Nessel reported on Twitter that members of her staff were being harassed.

"Dear members of the public: Please stop making harassing & threatening calls to my staff," Nessel tweeted. "They are kind, hardworking public servants just doing their job. Asking them to shove sharpies in uncomfortable places is never appropriate & is a sad commentary on the state of our nation."

Nessel was referring to a since-debunked conspiracy theory that alleges that supporters of President Donald Trump were told to fill out ballots in Sharpie markers, which would cause the ink to bleed through the paper and cause the ballot not to count.

Detroit was also the focus of a conspiracy theory that alleged that poll workers were transporting additional ballots to counting centers hours after polls closed. However, the source of that conspiracy theory was in fact a video that showed a photographer with Scripps station WXYZ in Detroit moving cameras and other broadcast equipment.