The government depends on the election officials to get their jobs done

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Last December, Vermont’s Secretary of State received a call from a man who was very angry about the result of the presidential election:

“Do you realize there’s a reason we just brought the firing squad back? No more painless, lethal injections. From now on the firing squad or poison gas. Your days are numbered. “

That’s only a small part of the message, but you get the idea. In any case, it sounds like the foreign minister has been threatened. But the state of Vermont has turned down prosecution – despite reporters able to track down and identify this guy.

For our weekly interview this morning, I asked former Attorney General Rob McKenna to investigate why this case did not warrant prosecution:

“The prosecutor concluded that the news was protected speech as it was not directed to an individual or an officer,” McKenna said. “They were, as I am now quoting him,” provided that misconduct was detected in the electoral process, “and the caller did not state that he was causing personal harm.”

In short, he was dismissed as just another troll.

Reuters reported that there were 800 intimidating calls to election officials in 12 states following the 2020 election. Zero charges.

I am glad that we are wrong on the side of free expression in this country. But tolerating threats to the people who run our elections – that is a problem for me.

Our entire system of government depends on electoral officials being able to do their jobs without worrying that their personal safety may depend on who wins.

Yet January 6th revealed that there is a movement in this country that believes in violently overthrowing any election that does not go its way.

We have a shadow bullying authority that wants us to stop trusting elections.

And they have a lot of help from those of us who never have anything good to say about politicians – or politics – and who think they are all corrupt.

I have no doubt some are, but voting politicians to get involved in politics is the way nations make decisions without killing each other.

Rejecting politics means accepting violence. And dehumanizing politicians means empowering this guy:

“From now on the firing squad or poison gas.”

I know our politicians are far from perfect, but better to be ruled by them than a mob of pure-breasted yahoos with horns.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. on weekdays on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the Podcast here.


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