Georgia Democratic senator receives death threats after election hearing

An Atlanta state senator has asked for police protection after people posting on conservative social media said she should be killed over her participation in hearings on Thursday about unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud pushed by supporters of President Donald Trump.

State Sen. Elena Parent, a Democrat, said she was shaken after being informed that her home address and other personal information had been distributed online and some posted in a social media thread that she should be killed.

A thread on one far-right internet message board posted photos of Parent captured during Thursday’s hearings, misidentified her as an election worker and asked users to vote on what the appropriate form of punishment should be. The most common responses called for sexual violence to be committed against Parent and/or her execution.

“It’s really scary and very strange because I didn’t do anything that I wouldn’t have done or haven’t done in any other hearing for these years I’ve been a senator,” she said.

Parent said she was working with law enforcement and the lieutenant governor’s office to secure additional protection at least throughout the weekend. DeKalb County police told her they would increase patrols near her home.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger has repeatedly said there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Georgia. Trump lost the election to former Vice President Joe Biden both in Georgia and nationally, but he has made unsubstantiated claims of fraud ever since the outcome became clear.

Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan’s chief of staff, John Porter, said Duncan is disappointed at the vitriol targeting Parent and others.

“This type of rhetoric and these threats aren’t helpful, they don’t help us find answers and they only distract from the real work of pursuing and investigating the allegations of voter fraud,” Porter said.

The Senate meetings gained national attention due to the appearance of Trump’s attorney, former New York City Major Rudy Giuliani. The hearing was run by Republicans. Parent was one of a few senators who pushed back on claims made by Guiliani and others.

Parent said she was frustrated with Republican state senators who knew Giuliani — who has been making unproven fraud accusations on Trump’s behalf for weeks — would be attending the Thursday hearing but didn’t share that information with Democratic members.

“We were not alerted in the minority party that Rudy Giuliani would be there, so I did not take the steps to protect my personal information,” she said. “It had never been an issue for me before.”

It’s unclear when members of the Senate Judiciary Committee knew Giuliani would be attending or why that information was not shared with all its members.

Senate Republican Leader Mike Dugan of Carrollton “absolutely rebuked” threats that have been made, said his chief of staff, Ethan Stiles.

“The process will reveal fraud if it exists,” Stiles said. “Sen. Dugan is working toward building an election system all have faith in.”

Parent said she had not yet filed a police report about the posts, but she contacted the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency.

House leaders announced Friday that members would hold a hearing next week to discuss election security. State Rep. Bee Nguyen, an Atlanta Democrat, said she was encouraged to protect herself before next week’s hearing.

“It shouldn’t be that way,” she said. “None of use should be concerned about our safety. We were elected to serve the people of Georgia. We should be able to do our jobs without having to think about security plans or worrying that they’ll (publicly share) our home address like they did with Elena Parent.”