Pennsylvania: Philadelphia elections officials get death threats amid Trump election attacks | Jonathan Lai/Philadelphia Inquirer
“Hey, how are you? You know what happens to corrupt Democrat politicians and election officials who support Black Lives Matter and who use voter fraud and voter suppression, voter intimidation and election tampering? You know what happens?” a man said, according to a recording of the call. “They learn first hand, the hard way, why the Second Amendment exists. We are a thousand steps ahead of you motherf—, and you’re walking right into the lion’s den.” It was an unsettling reminder of how heated — and dangerous — American politics have become. As officials prepared for the possibility of violence and civil unrest following Election Day, they worried about the city commissioners, the three elected officials who run Philadelphia’s elections, along with their staffs. Police performed threat assessments of the commissioners’ homes ahead of Election Day and planned strict security for the Pennsylvania Convention Center, where ballots would be counted and the commissioners and their staff would spend every hour of the day. “We are working around the clock in a location that probably has the best security and is the safest place in the entire City of Philadelphia,” Al Schmidt, the lone Republican of the three commissioners, recalled of the last week in an interview Monday. “We have the police department, we have the sheriff’s office, and we have private security.” Outside, tensions were rising, inflamed by President Donald Trump’s false attacks on the state’s electoral process and the sense that Pennsylvania — and Philadelphia — would play a key role in determining the presidency. As legal and political fights escalated, so did the vitriol: a torrent of death threats, harassment, and abuse, aimed at the city’s elections administrators.