No more threats: Leave the poll workers alone

By Conor Kelly (TheLorian)

In the wake of the Presidential Election results, Americans are feeling a wide variety of emotions–relief, joy, sorrow and anger, to name a few. Some Americans feel a sense of stability returning to the White House and a chance to make real change. Others, however, see a loss for their party, if not for America. But with such mixed emotions, some have taken their anger too far and targeted the balloting staff across the country. Grifters, conspiracy theorists, and professional malcontents have manifested their rage and have weaponized it to cast doubt on the election process. Such insanity must end. Immediately.

In Michigan, state poll workers were bombarded with calls, many of which were threatening, while the vote was being counted. Some callers felt it was necessary to tell the poll workers to shove sharpies in inappropriate places, and others made threats. Charming. The lovely remarks by livid callers were motivated, in part, by a conspiracy theory that poll workers were giving Trump voters sharpies to ensure that their votes wouldn’t count in the machines. Of course, this was false, but that didn’t stop people from making threats.

In Arizona, the same problem was faced this past Thursday, Nov. 5. Alex Jones, a conspiracy theorist who accused the Parkland kids of being crisis actors, led a group of Trump supporters in an attempt to get into the Maricopa County Recorder’s office. He indulged their anger and rage, promoting false and irresponsible rumors of voter fraud to a crowd of armed partisans. So much so that the county sheriff deputies had to be decked out in tactical gear to guard the counting. By the night’s end, the polling station had to be closed to avoid a confrontation.

In 2018, I wrote a piece condemning the violence launched against political pundit Tucker Carlson that was enacted by a local activist group who attacked his home. I stand by that despite my intense distaste for Tucker Carlson and all the nonsense that comes out of his mouth to this day. As I stood against violence against Carlson’s person then, I stand against the threats that have been made against the lives and good character of the men and women who helped make a difficult and complicated election work. I don’t care who voted for who, or what you think of the election results, threatening the lives of workers trying to run an election in the middle of a pandemic is beyond low.

Democracy depends upon the peaceable and sober-minded decision-making of a fair election. A bunch of armed partisans shouting and trying to enter an office to access people’s ballots is a threat to that. If the Republican party is ever to recover itself, it needs to start dealing with these partisans first. Get your house in order.

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Conor J. Kelly was the Opinion Editor for the Lorian and a prolific staff writer. He graduated from Loras College in April of 2021 and is now pursuing his master's in political science at the University of Illinois, Springfield. You can find his new work on The Progressive American newsletter.

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