Gwinnett solicitor commits to prosecuting election worker intimidation

Workers entering recounted votes into Gwinnett County’s database began working in teams of two at each station. (Photo: Christopher Quinn/AJC)
Workers entering recounted votes into Gwinnett County’s database began working in teams of two at each station. (Photo: Christopher Quinn/AJC)

As early voting starts for the Jan. 5 runoff, Gwinnett County Solicitor General Brian Whiteside has a reminder: if you threaten or assault an elections worker, you will be prosecuted.

Threats against elections workers have increased since the November presidential election, including a noose hung outside the home of a Gwinnett County man working for Dominion Voting Systems, the company whose software Georgia uses for elections.

Police have had to monitor the homes of officials including Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger because of violent threats made by those claiming without evidence he’s part of a conspiracy to swing Georgia’s presidential vote in President-elect Joe Biden’s favor. After three recounts, Biden’s margin of nearly 12,000 votes has held up.

Whiteside issued a reminder Thursday evening that these threats can lead to criminal charges, including harassing communications and terroristic threats. Whiteside said he would recommend sentences of 12 months in jail or a $1,000 fine for anyone convicted of threatening an elections worker.

“The Gwinnett County Solicitor General’s Office represents all the people of Gwinnett County regardless of their political party affiliation, sexual orientation, gender, race, color or creed,” Whiteside said in a press release. “We are aware that tensions are high in our communities and across the nation, but violence will not be tolerated.”

Solicitors, including Whiteside, prosecute misdemeanors, so any threat or assault qualifying for felony charges would be prosecuted by a district attorney.

Early voting for the runoff, in which both U.S. Senate seats and one Public Service Commission are at stake, runs from Dec. 14 to Jan. 1.

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