WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced that the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) will form a criminal task force to investigate threats made against election workers across the country. The task force will put the resources of multiple DOJ divisions, including the Criminal Division, Civil Rights Division and the FBI, behind efforts to protect the workers who run our elections and prosecute any groups or individuals who threaten them as they fulfill their duties.
In a memo sent to federal prosecutors, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco wrote the “Department of Justice has a long history of protecting every American’s right to vote, and will continue to do so. To that end, we must also work tirelessly to protect all election workers—whether they be elected officials, appointed officials, or those who volunteer their time—against the threats they face.”
The announcement comes after reports that election workers in key swing states, such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin, were quitting in droves after the 2020 election due to threats and intimidation. Republicans in state legislatures have also been passing new voter suppression laws that establish new punishments for workers including fines and potential criminal charges.