A dangerous and growing climate of threats and violence against public officials has prompted creation of the first-ever national database to track incidents of threats and harassment against government officials, reports Jennifer A. Kingson for Axios.
Researchers at Princeton University and the Anti-Defamation League have built a central repository of threat reports that they say will grow more robust, useful and predictive over time. T
he plan is to first monitor threats to local officials by collecting incident reports from law enforcement, social media, news reports and partner organizations, and then start including state and federal officials in the same process.
The baseline data they have gathered over the last two years so far shows that women officials are targeted 3.4 times more often than men, that threats of death and gun violence are more than twice as common as any other form of threat, and that Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona possess the highest share of incidents against poll workers and election officials.
Meanwhile, U.S. law enforcement is warning that conspiracy theorists could become violent around the midterm elections, with a Homeland Security bulletin stressing that the most likely perpetrators of domestic violent extremism (DVE) will be “lone offenders who leverage election-related issues to justify violence,” report Kevin Collier and Jonathan Dienst for NBC News.
The bulletin added that the violence would most likely come from people who believed in election fraud. A second warning came from the NYPD, who cited multiple examples of violent claims on social networks often used by conspiracy theorists.
QAnon extremist forums called for adherents to become ‘poll challengers’ and encouraged violence, intimidation tactics, and the sabotage of voting machines, if they believed they witnessed ‘fraud’ and ‘cheating’ at the polls,” according to their bulletin.