Seven states across the country continue to see unusual levels of threats to poll workers, senior FBI officials said at a briefing Monday.
Those states are Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Nevada and Wisconsin, all states where the results of the 2020 election were called into question, officials said. President Biden won each of those states. FBI officials are discussing how to deal with these threats as state officials in 8,800 congressional districts prepare for thenext month.
Since June 2021, the FBI has received more than 1,000 complaints about threats to poll workers, according to the agency. About 11% of those tips have led to FBI investigations.
FBI officials say the majority of threats appear through emails, election-related websites and phone calls, while a smaller portion of threats are made in person.
Federal law enforcement officials continue to be vigilant about adversaries’ “foreign malign influence” campaigns, as they have since 2016. Senior FBI officials said Russia and China remain the “primary culprits.” That said, federal investigators are not aware of any cyber campaign targeting the election at this time.
The country’s top electoral security official broke down in a recent interview while speaking of the vitriol against election officials.
“It’s baffling,” Kim Wyman, chief election leader of the nation’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), told CBS News in his first television interview since accepting his new role. “Threats like ‘we’re going to hang you’. And ‘I hope somebody puts a bullet in your head.
CBS News cybersecurity expert and analyst and former CISA director Chris Krebs.
“We need local law enforcement, I think, to get more involved in investigating threats, to protect poll workers themselves, to ensure that they’re not being scammed, or that their public information or their personal contact information is released so they can get- so they get more threats,” Krebs said on CBS News “Face the Nation” in an interview that aired Sunday.
“So this is an area that I think Congress needs to take a hard look at is the right deterrent measures put in place from the criminal statutes,” Krebs continued. “And then we have the investigative techniques? It’s, you know, I’ve personally received a significant number of death threats and other… other threats. And some of them come anonymously, through anonymous means like email.” We need more attention to these threats. Otherwise, we’re going to see a shortage of poll workers.”
— Nicole Sganga contributed to this report