Philadelphia City Commissioner Al Schmidt, a Republican who is one of three officials running the city’s elections, said his office has received death threats during the vote-counting process.
“From the inside looking out, it feels all very deranged,” Schmidt told CBS’s “60 Minutes” in an interview that aired Sunday. “At the end of the day, we are counting eligible votes cast by voters. The controversy surrounding it is something I don’t understand.”
As results continue to trickle in after Election Day, President Donald Trump and his allies have made baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud and irregularities in the ballot-counting process.
Though virtually all of the major media networks ― including Trump-friendly Fox News ― have projected Joe Biden as the winner, Trump has refused to concede. His campaign has filed multiple lawsuits in several states, but has offered little to no specific evidence of widespread irregularities. Multiple judges have already dismissed some of the suits.
Trump and his allies have alleged that Republican election observers weren’t allowed into a Philadelphia polling place on Election Day. But lawyers for Trump’s campaign admitted to a judge last week that there were more than a dozen GOP election observers at the site along with Democratic observers.
Schmidt told CBS that people have called his office to make thinly veiled threats against election workers. About 200 city workers, along with the city’s three-member bipartisan board of elections, will continue to count ballots for at least another week, he said.
“It’s people making accusations that we wouldn’t count those votes or people are adding fraudulent votes or just coming up with just all sorts of crazy stuff,” Schmidt told CBS, adding that people are falsely accusing election workers of cheating or manipulating vote tallies.
They make “calls to our offices reminding us that this is what the Second Amendment is for, people like us,” he continued, referring to the constitutional right to keep and bear arms. “For counting votes in a democracy.”
Threats have been made against election workers across the country during the 2020 presidential race. In Nevada, Joe Gloria, the registrar in Clark County, Nevada, said last week that his family is “very concerned” for him amid a growing number of threats against his office.
On Wednesday, the day after Election Day, Trump supporters surrounded polling sites in Arizona and Pennsylvania ― two battleground states ― to harass election workers and demand they count votes fairly. There’s no evidence that election workers were doing anything but counting votes fairly.
Two men armed with loaded handguns were arrested on Thursday near the Philadelphia convention center, where votes were being tabulated.
They were arrested after the FBI in Virginia relayed a tip about pair’s plans to Philadelphia police. The Hummer the two suspects were driving was adorned with an American flag and a window sticker for the right-wing conspiracy theory QAnon, reported The Associated Press.